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4 Americans Were Hiking In Nepal When Quake Hit

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Shortly after the earthquake in Nepal, I ran into a friend here in Washington who was hungry for information. She was concerned because she knew a person who was visiting Nepal.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Many Americans travel there, including the hikers we'll meet next. They include Oscar Olea, who was in a village called Kyanjin Gompa.

OSCAR OLEA: We were in the dining room of the tea house where we were going to stay. It was about noon when we start feeling the whole building shaking. We ran out of the building. We were so scared because we were watching how the building and all those around were crumbling down.

INSKEEP: And that was only the start.

OLEA: We turn around and saw an avalanche that was coming down from the mountain. So we start running again for our lives. And the power of the avalanche feels like it's never going to end. I was trapped on the snow. When I finally could get out of there, I start walking and saw a lot of blood on the snow, people screaming, crying. I tried to find the other members of the group. And miraculously, we all were fine.

MONTAGNE: With the valley buried in snow, emergency teams were only able to reach the area by helicopter three days after the quake, bringing in supplies and carrying out the wounded.

INSKEEP: Now, Olea is a veteran expedition leader with over 40 years of mountaineering experience. He says the group was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

OLEA: Something like this could happen to you anywhere, anytime. But I don't know if I will come back to Nepal. I really don't want to think about it right now.

MONTAGNE: Olea and his three companions were flown to safety this morning. But of course, many people weren't so lucky. The death toll in Nepal has now topped 5,000. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.