Kathmandu - Five South Korean climbers and three Nepalese guides are feared dead after a snowstorm tore apart their base camp at Mount Gurja in western Nepal, police said Saturday. "(They) fell off a cliff and died", the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.
A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad conditions.
The incident involves the largest group to be hit by a climbing accident in Nepal in two years.
A search-and-rescue helicopter pilot saw eight bodies scattered across the mountain, a Nepal police spokesman, Shailesh Thapa, said.
Police reports say the storm struck while the group were at their base camp, which was destroyed.
The permit listed four South Korean climbers, but a fifth member had joined the team later, according to Suresh Dakal of Trekking Camp Nepal.
Mount Gurja sits in Nepal's Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest mountain.
Gurja was first summited in 1969 by a Japanese team but no one has stood on its summit for 22 years, according to the Himalayan Database.
The South Korean team were planning to scale the mountain via a never-climbed route, according to the Korean Alpine Federation.
The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday.
Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to climb the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, is among the dead.