By Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2020

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Nepalese authorities decided Thursday to end the search for four South Korean trekkers and three Nepali guides who were buried by an avalanche on a popular trekking route.

Despite several attempts to locate them, including digging deep through snow at several spots on the Mount Annapurna Circuit trail, crews have not been able to find any clues of their whereabouts, Nepal army spokesman Brig. Gen. Bigyan Dev Pandey said.

Rescuers have been searching since an avalanche swept the South Korean team and their guides on Friday. Fresh snowfall and smaller avalanches on the trail have made the operation difficult. Authorities had mobilized army experts, mountaineering guides and local villagers to help in the search.

Attempts were being made to pull out the rescue team from the avalanche site but weather conditions were delaying the effort. It could take weeks or months for the snow to melt and for the bodies to surface.

The missing South Koreans were two women in their 30s and 50s and two men in their 50s, all teachers who were doing volunteer work in Nepal.

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