Newly-weds and pregnant woman among Britons who survive Nepal earthquake … – Telegraph.co.uk
The drama was one of many incredible stories of survival by Britons that emerged on Sunday following the devastating earthquake that has left more than 2,000 dead.
It is feared that up to 65 Britons have still not made contact with their families.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said British embassy staff had helped 200 British nationals so far and there were no reports, as yet, of British deaths or injuries.
A Northampton doctor and her friend survived an “apocalyptic nightmare” when the village they had been in was flattened and they had to trek for six hours to safety dodging falling boulders and ice.
A teenager from Chester on his second attempt to climb Everest said he had seen “friends swept away” as the avalanche swept through his camp.
Another couple said they were lucky to be alive when white water rafting in an inflatable boat outside of Kathmandu as huge rocks rained down around them.
But dozens of other British families were still desperately waiting for news of their loved ones who may have been caught up in the disaster.
Others who had initially heard people were alive in the hours after the quake were anxious for further news following a series of aftershocks.
And many of those who survived the avalanche on Everest were still stranded and waiting to be rescued or guided back down to safety.
Alex Schneider and Sam Chappatte on Mount Everest in 2014
Writing on their blog just hours after the devastation, Mr Schneider and Ms Cappatte said Saturday had been “very, very scary”.
The pair, who have been together since they were 15, were at Camp 1 on the mountain when the avalanche hit and told how Dan Mazur, group leader for Summit, the company organising the couple’s climb, raised the alarm.
“We staggered out to see an avalanche coming straight at us. A blast of wind knocked us down but we were able to get up and run to shelter behind some tents and anchor ourselves with our axes.
“The wind was so strong that Pat was knocked down and pivoted on his axe. We focused on keeping an air hole so we could breathe in the powder. Dan was fantastic, shouting directions at us, keeping us together and strong.”
The couple texted family to say they were OK but still at Camp 1. Their part of the original Base Camp had been flattened. Helicopters had been to pick up the sick and injured.
Hayley Saul, left, with Emma Waterton, with whom she was travelling
Hayley Saul, a 32-year-old doctor who specialises in Himalayan archaeology was said to be “absolutely terrified” and incredibly shaken after narrowly avoiding death in the devastating earthquake.
Miss Saul, from Northampton, had left Langtang village in Kathmandu just two hours before it was completely wiped out in the quake.
As the disaster hit, she was trekking with her friend and a local guide, en route to Lama Hotel, the next village on the trail.
Her sister, Emma Price, 24, said: “She had just left Langtang village and that village has gone now. The path they were trekking on had gone and they had to trek another five or six hours to get to the next village.
“Huge boulders were falling and following them, the river was blocked in places and she was worried it would flood, the cliffs were shaking with the aftershocks. It was absolutely terrifying.
“They were just on the path when it happened. She said they just ran. They were on the way down and there were rocks following them.
“The guide she was with found out that his whole family had gone. It’s some kind of apocalyptic nightmare.”
When the group got to Lama Hotel, Miss Saul left a voicemail on her sister’s mobile, pleading with her to contact the Foreign Office or the British Embassy and get helicopters sent to rescue everyone stranded there.
They were eventually picked up by helicopter and taken to the British Embassy.
Miss Saul, who had recently moved to Australia, was travelling with her friend, Emma Waterton. Both are archaeologists and were working on a project about the archaeology of the Himalayas.
James Grieve, 52, from Kinross, who was on a Help for Heroes climb, described 12 people dead, 50 injured and being trapped with no way down.
Mr Grieve, an engineer who works in Kazakhstan, managed to speak to his partner Shirley McGhie, 40, to let her know he was safe.
She said: “He said they were in their tents before the avalanche hit. They were warned to put their ice picks in the ground and hold on as tight as they could.
“He found it difficult to breathe and when it was over they just tried to get some shelter and get some tents erected.”
British army Captain Tim Bradshaw, who is on Everest, told on Sunday how survivors were still having to deal with aftershocks.
“It’s eerie where we are. We can hear as rocks crash down around us but cannot see them coming.
“As a soldier you are used to fight what you can see. It’s pretty eerie.”
Tom Challis pictured with girlfriend Julia Carroll (East Anglia News)
Julia Carroll and Tom Challis, both 22, were white water rafting through a deep gorge when boulders rained down after being shaken loose from the cliffs above them.
The couple who were in a rigid inflatable boat escaped injury and managed to get ashore before spending the night on a nearby beach and going on to the British embassy in Kathmandu.
Miss Carroll’s anxious parents John and wife Denise Carroll of Boxford, Suffolk, had to wait 18 hours for news and finally got a message from her during the early hours of Sunday saying “I’m alive”.
Civil servant Mr Carroll, 59, said: “They were white water rafting and going through a gorge when the earthquake happened
“The rocks and boulders that were loosened by the earthquake were falling down around them. Julia told me that they were lucky to be alive. She was very upset and clearly shocked.
Julia met her boyfriend Tom from Tamworth, Staffordshire, at Swansea University where she was studying law and he was studying marine biology.
Alex Staniforth, 19, from Chester, said he was “scared for his life” during his second attempt to climb Everest as the avalanche ripped through his camp.
According to his twitter account, currently being administered from the UK, he added: “Many great people and friends have been swept away.”
Eleanor Walker-Corriette (Ross Parry)
Eleanor Walker-Corriette, who is six months pregnant, was in Kathmandu when the quake hit and does not know how she will now get home.
A 35-year-old jewellery shop owner from Nottingham was in Nepal for business.
Her mother Marylin said that Mrs Walker-Corriette had been forced to leave her hotel and seek shelter in a camp for those affected.
“Obviously our main concern is for the baby, as it’s her first,” she said.
Tom Elphinstone (Nick Razzell)
Tom Elphinstone, from Battersea, south London and his girlfriend Zara Carey, both 26, had been hiking the Annapurna circuit and were in Tansen in western Nepal when the earthquake hit.
Describing the scene in a text message to his family Mr Elphinstone said: “The whole building was moving like we were on a ship and bits of plasterwork were falling but it didn’t collapse.”
Tom’s mother, Lucy Elphinstone, said he was “right in the middle” of the earthquake, adding: “Of course they’ve just had an earthquake this morning and it’s been apocalyptic with hale stones the size of golf balls and torrential rain. It’s just extraordinary.
“But in a nutshell he’s safe.”
Nick Talbot, from County Durham, who was attempting to be the first person with cystic fibrosis to climb Everest, said: ” It this was like a tsunami … I saw this wall of snow and ice coming.
‘It knocked me into the rocks. I got up and it knocked me over again.’
Gareth Douglas from Albrighton in Shropshire was in north base camp when the earthquake hit.
His father Steve said: “They felt the earthquake very badly – there were massive rock falls all around them but because of the situation [of the camp] they escaped uninjured.
Sheffield man Sean James, climbing the north ridge of Everest, posted updates on Instagram: “As we sleep on the ground in tents last night we could still feel the ground trembling constantly.”
Chris Harling, leader of the Adventure Peaks Everest North Ridge 2015 Expedition at base camp, wrote on Facebook about “car-sized boulders hurtling down only a few hundred metres from our tents”.
Sheffield-based adventure company Jagged Globe had eight teams in the Everest region. All but one had reported in and managing director Simon Lowe said the remaining group, consisting of 13 people, might not be aware of the extent of the disaster to call in.
Others reportedly safe included Ann McNeil, 66 and her brothers Keith Diplock, 71 and John Diplock, 63, who were half way through their first holiday together as adults.
Jacqueline Toal, aged 34, from Glasgow, was also safe, according to her father.
Tara Bradshaw, 24, from Kemptown, Brighton, made contact with her relieved mother after being reported missing.
The family of Alex White, who is stranded in Kathmandu, have criticised the Foreign Office for its performance following the disaster.
Mr White, who is staying in the capital’s Hyatt Regency hotel has been left to fend for himself as stocks of food and water dwindle while other nation’s citizens are evacuated, his family have claimed.
Other families were still waiting for news.
The father of missing Fiona Lamont, Norman Lamont, said: “We know nothing. Nothing. I’ve spoken to the Foreign Office and they’ve reported that (they’re) missing, but there’s been nothing back.”
Fiona, 26, is reported to have been hiking in the Himalayas with her boyfriend, Darren Smith, 27. Both are from South Queensferry.
Sam Stalker, 25, from Preston, Lancs, was travelling with his friend Jonathan Blott and their two girlfriends, who are Indian and German.
His mother, Freda Stalker, said: “We haven’t heard from him personally but the Google contact page for his girlfriend suggests that she is alive and stranded at a hotel so we are just hoping that Sam is with her.”
Teacher James Emperor, 35, a tis believed to have been in Kathmandu at the time of the quake.
His father, David, said: “He lets us know that he’s off but the fact that I hadn’t heard from him doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal because I’m assuming that communications are shot.”
Matt Carapiet, 23, is still missing in the area. A message from his parents on Google’s Person Finder says: “Hi Matts, hope you are safe and well, contact us know as soon as you can. Mum and Dad x”
Also missing is former British Gurkha, writer and historian John Cross, 89. He lives in Pokhara and according to his publisher Fred Zimmerman, hasn’t been heard from since the earthquake.