More than 100 people have been killed after a major earthquake hit Nepal, toppling buildings in the capital Kathmandu and triggering avalanches in the Himalayas.
The Nepalese authorities warned the death toll is likely to be much higher, with significant casualties likely in the remote districts nearer the epicentre of the earthquake, 50 miles north-west of the capital.
The earthquake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale, sent tremors throughout much of south Asia at 11.41 Nepal local time on Saturday.
Within minutes, hundreds of people with injuries were being brought to the main hospital in central Kathmandu, with further reports of damage and injuries coming in from nearby towns and the city of Pokhara in the west of the country.
A 19th-century tower and viewpoint in Kathmandu, popular with local residents and tourists, collapsed, possibly killing scores of people.
“I was passing by Dharhara [tower] when I felt a huge tremor of earthquake. I stood still. In few seconds I saw Dharhara falling down. People were screaming in pain,” Sujata Thapa, 22, said.
Dan Mazur, a well-known mountaineer, tweeted from camp one on Everest, at an altitude of around 19,000ft, saying that base camp had been severely damaged.
Hundreds of climbers and support staff are staying at the camp, as peak season for ascensions of the highest peak in the world approaches. The main route through the treacherous “ice fall” on Everest, a jumble of ice and crevasses, has been destroyed, Mazur said, effectively stranding unknown numbers of climbers high on the mountain.