Local holidaymaker lucky to be alive after Nepal earthquake

EARTHQUAKE TERROR -- the rescue operation begins in Kathmandu (PHOTO BY: Carl Whetham/Red Cross/PA Wire).
EARTHQUAKE TERROR -- the rescue operation begins in Kathmandu (PHOTO BY: Carl Whetham/Red Cross/PA Wire).

A holidaymaker who hails from Jacksdale is lucky to be alive after he was caught up in the Nepal earthquake that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

Well-known author Tony Hill (49) is one of a group of 16 on a ten-day trekking trip to the Mount Everest region of Nepal.

The group spent a day in Kathmandu and had just moved on when the horrific earthquake ripped through the city, leaving at least 2,500 dead and more than 6,000 injured.

“They were about 20 miles away at the time,” said his mum. “Now he is helping with the rescue operation.”

Tony, who currently lives in Manchester, relayed a dramatic message through Facebook to assure his family and friends that he was safe and well.

“Thanks for all the messages of support and for phoning my mum,” said Tony on Monday morning.

“Just a few days before the ‘quake hit, we set off for Everest base camp. We were on the outskirts of a mountain village between two high buildings that started swaying and cracking above us, with bits falling off.

“Luckily, we were able to run into an open field, but a building at the side of this collapsed.

“We are still stuck in the same village. It’s no good going back to Kathmandu at this point. We have tried to help the locals. The Nepalese are some of the best people I’ve ever encountered. They are strong in spirit and strength, and kind and courteous. My heart goes out to them.”

Tony, whose books include ‘If The Kids Are United’, ‘The Curse Of The Crooked Spire’ and ‘The Palace And The Punks’, was one of several hundred Britons in Nepal at the time of the earthquake.

“I was up at Everest view point yesterday, surrounded by deep, deep valleys,” hie Facebook message continued. “Down these valleys, all day long today, helicopters have been going back and forth to Everest, bringing back the dead and injured.

“They are brave, brave pilots because they continued flying even when the mist totally descended. There have been many aftershocks, including a big one that was terrifying. We may go further along the trail as we can’t go back at this stage.

“If you’d like to call my mum again and tell her I’m safe and not to worry. Love to all x.”

Tony’s mum spoke of her relief after hearing of his Facebook message and receiving re-assuring text-messages from her daughter and friends. “I am so pleased they are safe,” she said.