At least 10 climbers, including some foreigners, have died with many more missing after a massive 7.9 magnitude quake in Nepal today unleashed an avalanche at the base camp of Mount Everest at the start of the main climbing season on the world’s highest peak.

Hundreds of foreign climbers and guides were feared missing when avalanche buried part of the base camp, Tourism Ministry spokesperson Gyanendra Shrestha said.

Shretha said the bodies of eight people had been recovered, though their nationalities cannot be confirmed.

Chinese media reported one of their climbers was among the dead in the quake.

Officials estimate that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, were at the base camp of Mount Everest when the quake triggered the avalanche.

The 7.9 magnitude quake was the strongest to hit Nepal for 81 years and has killed over 900 people, including over 250 in Kathmandu and left several thousands injured and hundreds missing across the country.

An avalanche in April last year just above the base camp of Everest had killed 16 Sherpa guides.

Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,848 metre, is scaled by hundreds of climbers every year. The peak was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.