The anguished family of a young north-east backpacker who is missing following a massive earthquake in Nepal said yesterday they are “praying for news”.
Mitchell Carpenter, 23, who is originally from Aberdeen, was on the last leg of a year-long trip around Asia when the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck on Saturday.
Mr Carpenter, who now lives in Bracknell, Berkshire, last spoke to his parents, Nigel and Kay, via Skype on Thursday.
He said he was in the Dharapani area in the north of the country and was looking forward to coming home next month.
It is feared that more than 2,000 people have been killed in what is the worst earthquake in Nepal in more than 80 years.
Seventeen people have also been reported as killed on Mount Everest by avalanches caused by the tremor.
A powerful aftershock, registered at 6.7 magnitude, was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
Some 700 people have died in the capital of Kathmandu alone.
Mr Carpenter, who formerly worked at an estate agents, has visited India, Thailand and Vietnam as part of his backpacking tour with long-term girlfriend Laura Clarke.
Miss Clarke returned to the UK in December while Mr Carpenter continued his journey.
Yesterday, his heartbroken step-sister Rachel McBride, 41, who lives in Newtonhill, Aberdeenshire, said they were “praying for news”.
Mrs McBride, a school nurse, said: “I heard from him around Christmas time and he was saying that he was out there having a great time.
“The chance to go travelling came up last year so he just jumped at it before he settled down and had a family and everything.
“Laura went on part of the trip with him but she came home around Christmas.
“He’s quite bad at keeping in touch so I’m really hoping he just can’t get a signal just now.
“He’s such a great boy- it really breaks your heart.
“You hear about these things on the news but you don’t realise what it’s like until it happens to you.”
His brother, Marcus Carpenter, 43, a worker at Heathrow Airport, said that, although Mitchell had left Aberdeen at age eight, he was still “a proud Aberdonian” who would don a kilt at special occasions.
He said: “His dad worked in the oil and gas but got a job down south so moved the family there.
“Mitchell always said he’s Scottish and from Aberdeen – after Liverpool, Aberdeen FC are his second team.”
His mum Kay posted online: “Mitch, We are frantic with worry. Please be safe.
“Praying to hear from you. We love you. Mum xxx”
Meanwhile, two medical students from the University of Aberdeen were described as “safe but stranded” last night on the world’s highest mountain.
Joseph Feeney, from Coatbridge, and Calum Henderson, from Edinburgh, both 21, were on a trekking trip to Nepal as a treat after passing their third year exams.
Mr Feeney’s father, Dr James Feeney told BBC Scotland: “They [the boys] say this teahouse is mobbed to the rafters with people coming off the mountain.
“They’ve been given hospitality by the locals and their guide.
“The boys have been told that they’re really lucky because another couple of days and they would have been further up the mountain and they wouldn’t have got back down. The landslide would have blocked them off.
“But they’re fine, they’re just a bit shook up. They’re just wondering how they’re going to get home.
“Looking at the TV screens and seeing what could have happened to them, me and my wife, we’re just counting our blessings – Thank God.”
An Aberdeen University spokesman said: “We are glad to hear reports that Joseph and Calum are safe.
“The university will offer appropriate support to any of our students affected by the Nepal earthquake as required.”
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund has launched an appeal to help the r.
Father Pius Perumana S.J. in Kathmandu said: “It was the worst earthquake I have ever experienced in my life.
“Rescue is the first priority. Lots of people have lost their homes and are out on the street or in open spaces, so we will be looking to provide them with food and temporary shelter.”