TODAY   |  April 18, 2014

Witnesses on Everest: ‘We heard an avalanche’

Jonathan Fierro and Ed Wardle, a producer and cameraman with NBC's Peacock Productions, who were working on a project on Mount Everest when a deadly avalanche struck Friday morning, say the tragedy occurred at the beginning of the busiest season at the mountain

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> wardle is a cameraman. they've been working on a project for nbc and the discovery channel . gentlemen, good morning to both of you.

>> good morning.

>> good morning.

>> we are happy to see that you two are okay, and as we understand it, our nbc news team is okay as well. can you tell me what you saw, what you have witnessed this morning?

>> first thing this morning, just before 7:00, we heard an avalanche and the ice fall. it's a pretty regular occurrence here. so nobody was shocked by that. but when radio reports started coming off the mountain that people were stuck in the avalanche, everybody came out and started getting organized for the rescue.

>> i know in your case, ed, you have been on the mountain very often in the past shooting different stories up there. did you know any of these sherpas who apparently are among the victims this morning?

>> no, i couldn't tell you the name of any of the sherpas who were up there. the biggest tragedy of this is that it's the very beginning of the season, and to lose this number of people at the very beginning of the season may be the end of the season here.

>> and i think a lot of people are wondering whether it's appropriate to go on given scale of this tragedy. jonathan, let me ask you, what were the sherpas doing? i mean, there's a lot of production that goes into everest high season, which as i understand it is later in may.

>> that's correct. they were bringing supplies up to camp one and camp two. lines had been laid through the khumbu ice falls.

>> and this took place some distance away from where you two are right now. you're at everest base camp . can you give us a sense of the lay of the land ?

>> right behind me, over my shoulder is the khumbu ice fall . it's the first hurdle in the climb of everest above base camp . our plan was to leave last night along with the sherpas. we delayed for 24 hours , so we're still down here safe. but as you know, 13 sherpas died in the ice fall last night.

>> it's an incredible tragedy. jonathan and ed, our best to you. stay safe this morning. appreciate your time.

>> thank you.