Three Whatcom residents in Nepal reported safe after earthquake

Three Whatcom County residents who were in Nepal when a massive earthquake struck the country Saturday, April 25, have been reported safe.

The trio — Doreen Richmond and Jim Lane of Lummi Island and Jeannie DeBari — were on a trek together.

Richmond borrowed a phone and called her mother Carmela in Long Island, New York, about 7 a.m. Thursday, April 30, to report all three were unhurt and in Kangchenjunga, which is on the border with India and far from the epicenter of the earthquake northwest of Kathmandu.

“They were there. They were safe. They felt some tremors,” Richmond’s sister Diane Lobasso said in an interview.

The conversation was a short one, Lobasso said, adding that the three were continuing on to Makalu.

“It’s a huge relief. I’m happy to hear they’re safe. I wish they were coming home,” Lobasso said.

They were on a trek that started in April and was to end June 2. They had planned to travel from Kangchenjunga to Makalu and then the base camp of Mount Everest, if they had time, she said.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 6,100 people and destroyed thousands of houses and other buildings.

Lane is a retired Bellingham Fire Department paramedic. Richmond is a retired special education teacher for the Bellingham School District.

Since retiring, she also has worked as a substitute teacher for the district. Richmond also teaches at Whatcom Community College.

Lobasso described the couple as avid adventurers and travelers.

DeBari formerly owned Milano’s Restaurant in Glacier with her husband, Tom.

After the earthquake, Richmond’s family worked to contact relief workers and organizations in Nepal to get a picture of the travelers into their hands. In a conversation with family a few days before the earthquake, Lane said they “would be in the mountains and out of reach for two weeks,” Lobasso said.

She said they expected to hear from them again next week.

Friends took to the Facebook pages of Lane, 56, and Richmond, 57, to celebrate the good news.