150 Trapped With Little Food, No Water : Tourists in Buses Snowbound in Tibet

Associated Press

About 150 tourists became snowbound in buses en route from Tibet and urgently need help, a Canadian said today after he left the group and hiked for five days to reach Katmandu.

Fred Brooks said he and seven other travelers who walked into Katmandu informed the Chinese Embassy about the tourists’ plight and also sought help from the U.S. Embassy.

At least three Americans were on the buses, according to the mother of one. Rebecca Valette said the State Department notified her that they believed her son, Pierre, was stranded.


Valette said her son was traveling with a friend, Chris Hill, and Hill’s cousin, Emily Hill. Chris Hill, of Boulder, Colo., and Valette, of Newton, Mass., recently graduated from Stanford University. They are 22. Emily Hill is from Lawrence, Kan.

“Many of the people . . . had no warm clothes. They had no food except some champa (millet flour), and no drinking water,” said Brooks, a 34-year-old electronic technologist from Calgary, Alberta.

Brooks said three buses carrying about 150 tourists out of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to Nepal have been stalled in snow since Oct. 19 after a blizzard in the Tibetan plateau.

He said the storm hit as the vehicles were approaching the 17,384-foot-high Tangal Pass.

“Many of the stranded people are not physically fit,” said Peter Widmer, a 30-year-old Swiss turbine engineer who walked out with Brooks.

He said he had to leave Lhasa by bus because the Chinese government did not allow tourists to stay in Tibet after recent demonstrations and clashes.