By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth, and it attracts thousands of tourists every year. This past Friday, it experienced an avalanche (a rapid flow of snow down a slope) that took the lives of at least 12 people. These fatal statistics make this avalanche one of the deadliest to ever occur on the mega mountain.
An avalanche happens when a huge chunk of ice and snow snaps off the side of a mountain and picks up speed, hurtling downwards at up to 80 miles per hour. According to officials, the victims of this disaster were experienced native guides preparing for a tour before the snowy disaster struck.
Everest sits in the Himalaya mountain range, and its peak reaches upwards of 29,035 feet above sea level, making it the most elevated location on Earth. Every year, thousands of tourists travel to hike the Himalayas, and hundreds try to conquer its mighty peak. In fact, officials are actually worried there are too many people clogging the treacherous routes to the peak, so this avalanche had the potential to take the lives of many more people than it did.
Several rescue teams began search for the missing avalanche victims on Friday.
Featured image courtesy of Everest ER. Image of Mt. Everest courtesy of shrimpo1967 on Flickr.