Nepal Earthquake: For Climbers on Mount Everest, a Terrifying Tragedy

Nick Cienski was on the mountain when earthquake and avalanche hit.

ByABC News
April 27, 2015, 8:14 AM

— -- Nick Cienski considers himself fortunate.

He was on Mount Everest with his team when a massive earthquake -- and avalanche -- hit. The disasters are responsible for more than 3,700 deaths, according to a Nepal police official, plus 18 people killed on the mountain.

Cienski was located at the edge of the avalanche.

“When you looked up and saw this thing coming at you, it was like out of a Hollywood movie. It was huge, this huge wave of snow,” Cienski said in an interview with ABC News. “We just hunkered into our tents and started praying and lived through it.”

Cienski didn’t initially believe that it was an earthquake, but he understood the gravity of the situation when the snow headed in his direction.

“Once we hunkered into our tent, my wife and I were just sort of huddled in our sleeping bags holding each other and this whole tent was just moving with the wind and the snow being pelted into it,” he said. "You can’t really describe it. It was incredibly terrifying. We had no idea if we were going to get ripped off the ground inside these tents and flung into rocks and who knows what, and thank the Lord we weren’t."

Nick Cienski was located on Mount Everest when a massive earthquake and avalanche struck.

Cienski and his wife started working their way to harder-hit areas, witnessing the destruction -- the winds, rocks and ice ripping through tents.

“Some people were incredibly badly broken up,” Cienski said. “The early evening was the most difficult, as we started to retrieve bodies. It was very difficult. Some of these people were incredibly badly damaged and hurt and, in some cases, in pieces, and so the evening was very, very somber, indeed.”

A photographer for 6 Summits Challenge, an international team of climbers, documented the destruction on Mt. Everest following an earthquake and avalanche on April 25, 2015.

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