Survivors of Saturday's huge avalanche on Mount Everest have recounted the horrifying moments a wall of snow and ice bore down on their camp.
Eighteen people are so far known to have died when the avalanche, triggered by the 7.9-magnitude earthquake which hit Nepal, hit Everest Base Camp.
(Video courtesy YouTube/Jost kobusch)
Video of the moment the avalanche hit shows a climber saying "the ground is shaking" before he and his companions scramble for cover in their tents.
The AFP news agency's Nepal bureau chief Ammu Kannampilly was at base camp when the avalanche cascaded down the mountain, flattening everything in its path.
Kannampilly spoke to survivors about their experiences when part of the camp was obliterated, and asked how they coped with the aftermath.
[caption id="attachment_74810" align="alignnone" width="300"] Rescue efforts at Mt Everest base camp in Nepal PHOTO: Rescue team personnel carry an injured person towards a waiting rescue helicopter at Everest Base Camp. (AFP: Roberto Schmidt)[/caption]
One survivor, George Foulsham, said the latest disaster on Everest felt like a message from the mountain that "it's not meant to be climbed for now".
Like many of the climbers, Mr Foulsham had returned to base camp for a second shot at the summit of the world's highest mountain after last year's climbing season was cancelled for the first time ever.
Speaking at base camp, the 38-year-old marine biologist recounted the moment that he was knocked off his feet by what he called "a 50-storey building of white".
"I ran and it just flattened me. I tried to get up and it flattened me again. I couldn't breathe, I thought I was dead," he said.
"When I finally stood up, I couldn't believe it passed me over and I was almost untouched."
As he and his fellow climbers awaited an airlift off Everest, Mr Foulsham reluctantly conceded that his dream may now never come true.
"I saved for years to climb Everest [but] it feels like the mountain is saying it's not meant to be climbed for now," he said.
"It's too much of a coincidence to see this twice in two years."
Cardiologist climber helps treat wounded after quake
Ellen Gallant, an American climber and cardiologist, described how she had tried to help those who were injured but was unable to save one victim who died before her eyes.
"I was outside, saw this huge blast cloud coming down," she said.
"I ran into the tent, threw myself on the floor. When the vibration stopped, I went out and radioed over to the medical tent.
"They asked me and an Indian climber (a doctor in the Indian army) to take care of head injuries.
"We worked through the night, doing rounds, handing out medication, putting in IVs.
"Of the nine patients, one of them died last night — a 25-year-old sherpa. His blood pressure had fallen. There was nothing we could do."
Gallant said the conditions were rudimentary.
"Around 6:00am, we heard helicopters and we knew we would make it out of the woods. We were able to send the eight out," she said.
"When you go to medical school, you learn to focus on the task at hand. But now that things have settled down, it's hit me hard.
"That young man who died in front of me — a 25-year-old shouldn't have to die."
'This mountain means too much pain'
Kanchaman Tamang, a Nepali cook who was working for the Jagged Globe tour group, said the latest tragedy was particularly painful coming so soon after last year's deaths.
"I was in the dining tent when the avalanche hit. It sent the tent flying," the 40-year-old said.
"After last year's avalanche, I never worried about coming back. I told my family I work at base camp and it's safe, not like the icefall.
"The season is over, the route has been destroyed, icefall ladders are broken.
"I don't think I will come back next year. This mountain means too much pain."
The disaster came barely a year after the death of 16 sherpa guides in an avalanche.