Scots Climber Lucky To Be Alive

A Scottish climber has said he feels lucky to have survived after a massive earthquake caused an avalanche, leaving him stranded on Nepal's Mount Everest.

James Grieve, 52, was climbing on the north side of the mountain with a group from Help for Heroes and Children 1st when the avalanche struck yesterday.

Climbers have been cut off from the mountain's base camp and remain on various routes leading to the top of the world's highest peak.

Officials at Nepal's mountaineering department said at least 17 people died and 61 were injured in the avalanche, with an unknown number still missing.

Mr Grieve, from Kinross in Fife, told The Sun: "You could feel Everest move. It was like a rocking motion.

"Snow and ice was coming down as the glacier shook. We were all covered in the snow but we weren't packed in.

"It was very difficult to breathe. We had to pat ourselves down. We were lucky to survive.''

Mr Grieve, an engineer who works in Kazakhstan, managed to speak to his partner Shirley McGhie, 40, in Kinross yesterday to let her know he was safe.

She told the Press Association: "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. They were just really concerned for the others and those that were injured.''

Mr Grieve managed to phone her not long after the avalanche happened yesterday to allay her fears for his safety and she now hopes he may call again today with news of any rescue operation.

She said: "As time is going on you are aware of the scale of the disaster caused and with the aftershocks you don't know the effect that's going to have on the mountain.

"It's so devastating and I'm just hoping for their safe return. My thoughts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.''

The magnitude 7.8 quake struck at around noon yesterday about 50 miles north west of Kathmandu.

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