After devastating earthquake, Minnesotans in Nepal let families know they survived


More than 3,600 people died after a massive earthquake hit Nepal and the surrounding region Saturday, the BBC reports, a number that's climbed every day since the news first came down.

And at least two Minnesotans were on the ground in the south Asian country when the earthquake struck, both coming away as fortunate survivors.

According to WCCO, 30-year-old David Rhein of Minnetonka was in Nepal when the quake struck.

Rhein's sister said after a period of silence in the immediate aftermath, he got in contact with the family and said he's OK.

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And FOX 9 spoke with another Minnesotan on the scene, Andrew Grabow, as well as his Richfield family.

He was at the Mount Everest base camp Thursday, hiking there just to see it, before heading back to Kathmandu. That's where he was when the earthquake hit not two days later.

He's still there, but doing fine, staying at a hospital and helping with local aid efforts, FOX 9 says. He'll fly home next week.

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Facebook user Kishor Rana uploaded video footage from a drone after the earthquake, showing the damage.

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Mount Everest avalanche survivors

The earthquake triggered a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 18 people and injuring dozens more, USA Today says.

One climber caught video of his base camp being hit, and uploaded it to YouTube. (WARNING: The video contains strong language.)

Two Wisconsin men were climbing the mountain when the avalanche hit.

There was Benjamin Breckheimer, a veteran from Menomonee Falls wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan six years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. He was trying to become the first Wounded Warrior to climb Everest.

He checked in with his mother early Saturday, briefly saying he was OK, the paper reports. His climbing group, Mountain Gurus, said on Facebook everyone with the team is safe.

Andy Land meanwhile was climbing the mountain to raise money and awareness for hospice care.

Land, a hospice nurse himself, was with International Mountain Guides. The company is providing updates on its site, and said after the avalanche everyone in the team was safe.

Land had been providing updates on the Climbing for Hospice Facebook page.

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