NEW YORK (PIX11) — A Brooklyn native hiking in Nepal when a catastrophic earthquake struck the South Asian nation and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest is sharing his story exclusively with PIX11 about the terrifying moment when the 7.8 magnitude quake rocked the region.
Mendachem “Mendy” Losh, 38, originally from Brooklyn and now living in Newport Beach, Calif., was hiking with friend Daniel Cole, of Brooklyn, and on the glacier at the time of the earthquake.
“When it happened we were on some snow and we felt the ground move,” Losh told PIX11.
Losh said at first they thought it was just an avalanche.
“But then we looked up and we saw these boulders rolling down the mountain,” said Losh. “So we went and dove behind the big rock.”
Losh was traveling with Cole, a guide and a porter at the time of the earthquake and said no one in their group was hurt.
“We didn’t really think much of it, we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Losh. “And everybody else was probably fine.”
“Danny Cole and Mendy Losh have been located and are unharmed. Our families are in contact with them and we are working towards bringing them home safely,” a family spokesperson said in a statement.
“We thank the many people and organizations who have worked tirelessly on behalf of Danny and Mendy during this difficult time. We wish them continued blessing and success in their selfless efforts to help the countless other people in need of aid. We pray for the victims of this disaster and for all the families affected by the devastation.”
Aaron Hurwitz said Losh sent this message Monday: “Thank you. We are safe. We had no connection for the last two days. Hope to get more connection in a few hours. Phone about to die and bad connection here.”
Hurwitz reported the communication through Google Person Finder, a tool set up by the tech giant during natural disasters to help loved ones connect with the missing.
Cole’s profile on Person Finder also has been updated to say the climber has been accounted for.
The death toll from the earthquake continued to climb Monday, with the latest figures suggesting more than 4,000 people perished in the disaster, the Associated Press reports.
The destruction in Kathmandu, the capital, is stark: Revered temples reduced to rubble, people buried in the wreckage of their homes, hospitals short on medical supplies overflowing with patients. Serious damage is also reported in villages in the surrounding valley.
But farther out across Nepal’s rugged landscape — closer to the epicenter — the situation is worryingly murky.
“Information about remote areas is severely lacking at this time,” said Devendra Singh Tak, an official with Save the Children in Kathmandu, noting that roads were blocked and communications unreliable.
Towering within the borders of Nepal is Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak that draws adventurous mountaineers from around the world. At least 17 people died when the quake triggered an avalanche on the mountain.
Among them are Eve Girawong, a New Jersey woman who was working as a base camp doctor; Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who was attempting to scale the mountain with two colleagues; and Tom Taplin, a filmmaker from California who was making a documentary on Everest climbers when the avalanche struck.
CNN contributed to this report.AlertMe