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The Nepal Earthquake of 2015 killed over 8000 people and injured over 20,000 in Nepal. Moments after the earthquake, an avalanche of falling ice came down from above Everest Base Camp (EBC). The air blast created by the avalanche flattened the middle part of EBC, killing 15 people and injuring at least 70. The casualties were initially triaged and treated at EBC and then evacuated by air to Kathmandu for definitive care. There were intermediate stops at the villages of Pheriche and Lukla during which the casualties were offloaded, retriaged, treated, and loaded again for further transport. Most of the authors of this article helped to provide primary disaster relief at EBC, Pheriche, or Lukla immediately after the earthquake. We describe the process by which an ad hoc rescue chain evacuated the casualties. We discuss challenges, both medical and nonmedical, what went well, and lessons learned. We make recommendations for disaster planning in the Khumbu (Everest) region, an isolated high altitude roadless area of Nepal.

Original publication




Journal article


Wilderness Environ Med

Publication Date





401 - 410


air medical transport, avalanche, disaster, helicopter emergency medical services, trauma, Avalanches, Disaster Planning, Earthquakes, Emergency Medical Services, Humans, Interinstitutional Relations, Interprofessional Relations, Mass Casualty Incidents, Nepal, Rescue Work, Triage, Wilderness, Wilderness Medicine