PICTURED: Terrifying moment rock and ice swept down Everest towards British climbers stranded at obliterated basecamp where 18 people were buried alive in avalanche sparked by Nepal quake 

  • Powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused an avalanche on Mount Everest
  • At least 18 people have died and more than 30 injured on the mountain
  • Daniel Mazur from Bristol urged people to 'pray for everyone' on Twitter
  • There are reports the avalanche has buried people in tents at basecamp

A British climber has urged people to 'pray for everyone' after an earthquake caused an deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

At least 18 people have died and more than 30 injured in the avalanche, caused by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake - the country's worst in 81 years - which struck Nepal and has claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people. 

The avalanche buried part of basecamp, raising fears for the safety of hundreds of climbers who are in the area, said Gyanendra Shrestha from the Tourism Ministry in Kathmandu. 

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Avalanche: Terrifying avalanche pictured from basecamp on Mount Everest caused by the earthquake today

The avalanche was caused by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal and has claimed the lives of almost 1,000 people

The avalanche was caused by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal and has claimed the lives of almost 1,000 people

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen hid behind this stone when the avalanche caught up with him at basecamp

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen hid behind this stone when the avalanche caught up with him at basecamp

A dining tent here at basecamp has been turned into hospital. People are being treated for head injuries and fractures

A dining tent here at basecamp has been turned into hospital. People are being treated for head injuries and fractures

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen pictured after the avalanche

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen pictured after the avalanche

He said two tents at the camp had been filled with the injured.

'The toll could go up, it may include foreigners as well as sherpas (guides),' he said. 

Daniel Mazur from Bristol tweeted: 'A massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone.' 

Climber Alex Gavan from Romania tweeted: 'Everest basecamp huge earthquake then huge avalanche from Pumori. Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many, many people up the mountain. 

'Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap.' 

A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the avalanche occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and the basecamp where most climbing expeditions have their main camps.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing Everest with Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall when the earthquake hit.

He wrote: 'The earthquake near Everest was very strong and we could feel the earth shaking a lot, and then a huge avalanche swept over basecamp and Jelle and I had to run for our life, but I did not reach the tents and I had to hide behind the the stone puja.

'I could not see anything and it was hard to breath. 

'Our camp is at the end of basecamp which is like a small city with almost 500 tents, I am sure there are casualties, and we fear for an Indian group we met that were heading up the ice fall.'

He said the injured, including one person with many broken bones, had begun to arrive.

'He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs,' Mr Lillelund Pedersen said. 'For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents.

'There is now a steady flow of people fleeing basecamp in hope of more security further down the mountain.'  

Mountaineer

Mountaineer reports from basecamp on Mount Everest following the avalanche which was caused by a quake

Everest basecamp: At least 10 people have died and 30 injured in the avalanche on Mount Everest in Nepal

Everest basecamp: At least 10 people have died and 30 injured in the avalanche on Mount Everest in Nepal

Norwegian climber Teodor Glomnes Johansen, who was at basecamp, told a newspaper in Norway they are working to save lives.

'We carry out severely injured people. This is pretty tough and heavy. We do not know whether there will be more avalanches,' Mr Glomnes Johansen told Norway's VG newspaper.

'All those who are unharmed organise help with the rescue efforts. Men, women and Sherpas are working side-by-side. The job right now is to assist the doctors in the camp here.'

Chinese media have reported that a Chinese climber and two Sherpa guides were among the dead. 

Climber Robin Trygg told the Swedish news agency TT his Sherpa guides had been in radio contact with other guides on Everest and they reported an avalanche there hitting as many as 80 people.

'We were sitting in the tent and drinking tea when the earth, all of a sudden, began shaking. We didn't understand what happened,' he told the news agency.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 06.11 GMT, with walls crumbling and families racing outside of their homes

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 06.11 GMT, with walls crumbling and families racing outside of their homes

A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Everest after the earthquake

A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Everest after the earthquake

The avalanche is believed to have occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and basecamp

The avalanche is believed to have occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and basecamp

Ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at basecamp or on Everest when the earthquake struck.

April is one of the most popular times to scale Everest, before rain and clouds cloak the world's highest peak at the end of May. 

Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary in the Nepalese tourism ministry, said the government was struggling to assess the damage on Everest because of poor phone coverage.

'The trekkers are scattered all around the basecamp and some had even trekked further up,' Sapkota said. 'It is almost impossible to get in touch with anyone.'

Choti Sherpa, who works at the Everest Summiteers Association, said she had been unable to call her family and colleagues on the mountain. 

'Everyone is trying to contact each other, but we can't,' she said. 'We are all very worried.' 

Google has launched a 'person finder' website to help people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of the earthquake. If you are searching for someone or have information about someone's whereabouts, you can visit www.google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake.

Mount Everest basecamp in Nepal pictured on April 11 before the avalanche hit, killing 18 people

Mount Everest basecamp in Nepal pictured on April 11 before the avalanche hit, killing 18 people

Locals rescue a dust-covered man from the the rubble of a destroyed building, as they work to find and rescue any survivors of the disaster

Locals rescue a dust-covered man from the the rubble of a destroyed building, as they work to find and rescue any survivors of the disaster

Nepalese rescue teams remove a body from the rubble of the historic 19th century Darahara Tower in Kathmandu which collapsed in the quake

Nepalese rescue teams remove a body from the rubble of the historic 19th century Darahara Tower in Kathmandu which collapsed in the quake

Homes, businesses and landmarks were destroyed when the severe earthquake struck Kathmandu and the densely-populated surrounding areas at noon local time, officials said.

Rescue teams continue to search for survivors who are feared to be trapped under the rubble. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal warned the death toll is almost certain to rise.

Effects of the quake were felt hundreds of miles away in neighbouring countries with 20 killed in India, six in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border.

In a statement from the Foreign and Commonweath Office, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: 'My thoughts are with the people of Nepal and everyone affected by the terrible loss of life and widespread damage caused by the earthquake. 

'We are in close contact with the Nepalese government. The British Embassy in Nepal is offering our assistance to the authorities and is providing consular assistance to British Nationals.'  

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