An avalanche crashed into a group of Japanese climbers, killing three of them in the first fatal accident of the spring Himalayan climbing season, the Ministry of Tourism said.

Eight Japanese and two Sherpa guides were climbing from the base camp to their first campsite on 23,733-foot Langtang Lirung when the avalanche struck Tuesday, throwing the three 30 yards down the ridge, the ministry said.The ministry said the seven other members of the expedition escaped the avalanche. The ministry, citing reports from base camp, said the bodies of the three Japanese were not recovered.

The climbers were members of a 13-member expedition led by Yasuo Katsuyama, 36. The team abandoned the climb after the avalanche, the first fatal accident of the season.