Hartlepool mountaineer safe and well after avalanche kills nine guides on Everest

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HARTLEPOOL mountaineer Ellis Stewart has took to the internet to confirm he is safe and well after an avalanche swept down the slopes of Mount Everest, killing nine Sherpa guides with more feared dead.

The experienced 40-year-old is currently in the middle of achieving his dream and being the first town man to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

But news broke overnight of an avalanche hitting the area at around 6,400metres.

Just two days ago Ellis, from the Bishop Cuthbert estate, updated his blog ahead of a trek to the 5,400metre point.

But fortunately the dad-of-two updated his blog again this morning, saying: “For peace of mind for anyone following our trip, just to let you know our team and Sherpas are ok. Our condolences go to everyone involved.

“Tragically a number of climbing Sherpas have been involved in an avalanche incident in The Khumbu Icefall. This happened early Friday morning, April 18, 2014.

“The avalanche was off the West Shoulder of Everest and has been reported to have buried climbers, mostly if not all were Sherpa, working to carry loads to Camps 1 and 2.”

Helicopters and rescuers on foot are currently on the scene after the avalanche.

“We have retrieved nine bodies and rescued seven people,” Nepalese tourism ministry spokesman Mohan Krishna Sapkota said.

“Five people are still missing.”