From ANN, April 30, 2015: Ernesto Olivares Miranda, an Adventist from Chile, was part of a team of climbers who were on Mount Everest when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last weekend. He was at a base camp located 17,585 feet (5,360 meters) above sea level.
“The glacier sounded with movement and cracking. The clouds that covered the surrounding mountains did not allow us to see much. Suddenly, the noise began to get louder, echoing through the mountains, and it sounded like something was coming closer, but we couldn’t see anything,” Olivares said.
“There were eternal seconds of uncertainty. We looked back and saw a cloud of snow approaching at a high speed. We decided … to throw ourselves onto the ice next to a pile of rocks,” Olivares stated. “For a few seconds we felt a strong wind pass over us and snow began to fall.” He was 50 meters from where the avalanche passed.
“In that moment I asked God to allow me to hug my family one more time. I remembered Psalm 91, ‘for he will command his angels concerning you … so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Olivares told the Adventist University of Chile Radio station, “in that moment I clung to that promise.”
Olivares also told the South American News Agency (ASN) of the bleak scene in the aftermath. “We helped to rescue the injured, and just covered the dead. Those were very sad [hours]. The majority of those killed were chefs and their assistants,” he said.
Hours later, personnel from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) made contact with Olivares via mobile Internet media and received a report of Olivares’ location and condition. On Wednesday (April 29) Landerson Serpa, director of ADRA Bangladesh, and friend of Olivares, informed ASN that the team Olivares leads is still on the mountain waiting for help. “He is awaiting rescue at the Everest base camp together with hundreds of isolated mountain climbers. They are well, but sad for the 20 people who died in the avalanche,” Serpa reported.
News media in Chile have reported that following the earthquake, Oliveras and his team have been assisting rescue workers. Olivares told Chile Adventist University Radio that his team will descend Everest and visit more base camps “to help.”
The Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The primary reporter for this story was Carolyn Azo of ASN based in Brasilia, Brazil.