Phoned home: Sophie Wilde and her father Simon Wilde. Photo: FacebookA Sydney father and daughter who were feared missing after a deadly snowstorm and avalanche hit the Himalayas last week have phoned home to say they are safe and well.
Simon Wilde made a short phone call to his family about 11pm on Wednesday to say that he and his daughter Sophie, 17, were making their way to Kathmandu, and were expected back in Australia in the coming days.
The Wilde family, including Sophie’s mother Monannlisa, had endured an agonising nine days with no word from the pair since the blizzard at the popular Thorong La pass, on the Annapurna Circuit, killed more than 40 trekkers and injured 175 on October 14.
More than 500 people were rescued and taken to nearby villages and towns following Nepal’s worst hiking disaster.
But Monannlisa said Mr Wilde phoned home late on Wednesday to deliver the good news that he and Sophie, a student at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, were fine.
“We haven’t been able to talk to him properly, but he said ‘We’re OK’ and that they had been accompanied to the base camp. They will make their way to Kathmandu,” she said.
“I didn’t really know how to take it. We were all screaming and jumping around.
“There are so many people out there who have been worried. People that I don’t even know, and I just keep getting phone calls. It’s so good.”
It was unclear why it had taken the pair so long to call home, but they were believed to be trekking in a remote area of the Himalayas when the avalanche hit.
In their last email contact on October 6, they said they were heading for the mountains near Dolpa, a wilder, less-travelled area bordering the Annapurna Circuit.
Monannlisa said she was looking forward to seeing the pair when they arrived home, hopefully in the next two days.
“The first thing I’m going to do is take Sophie’s passport off her. Seriously I’m going to confiscate her passport,” Monannlisa laughed.
“She’s a very well-travelled girl, but until she finishes her HSC [next year], she’s not going anywhere.”
She also posted a message on her Facebook page thanking everyone for their support.
“This has been a torturing experience, my thoughts and prayers to all the people that lost their families in Nepal and to all Nepalese people who lost their lives helping trekkers,” she wrote.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “The Australian embassy in Kathmandu and DFAT consular officials in Canberra are working closely with families, Nepalese authorities and trek organisers … to ascertain the welfare of any Australians remaining in the region.
“A number of foreigners, including Australians, have been rescued and located.
“DFAT is aware of a small number of Australians who may still be in the region. Embassy and DFAT consular staff are continuing to seek information about … any Australians in the affected area.
“The embassy is co-ordinating with the Nepalese authorities, including the Nepalese Army and the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal.
“Embassy staff remain ready to assist any Australians affected by this tragedy.”
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