U.S. Jewish hikers in Nepal contact families


(JTA) — Two Jewish-American men who were hiking together in Nepal during the massive earthquake have contacted their families.

Danny Cole, 39, a father of four from Crown Heights, New York, and Mendy Losh, 38, originally from Crown Heights and now living in Los Angeles, reportedly are at the Mount Everest base camp awaiting evacuation. They were hiking in Nepal and believed to be on a trail below the Everest base camp when the earthquake struck, triggering avalanches in the area.

They said it took them two days of moving from village to village in the area to find a way to contact the outside world.

“Our families are in contact with them and we are working towards bringing them home safely,” said Moshe Schreiber, a family spokesman for both men. “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 others in need of aid.”

The death toll in the 7.8 magnitude temblor topped 4,000 on Monday afternoon.

At least four Americans have been killed in the earthquake and its resulting avalanches and aftershocks, including a Jewish Google executive, Dan Fredinburg. Some 50 Israelis remain unaccounted for, down from 250 immediately following the natural disaster.

A plane carrying an Israeli military field hospital and 260 personnel is en route to Nepal following a day of delays due to weather and the condition of the runway in Kathmandu. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that it had opened its doors to 150 Israelis in Nepal seeking shelter.

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