MENDHAM - A New Jersey man says that he is grateful to be alive after surviving an avalanche on Mt. Everest. The avalanche was caused by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal.

Mariusz Malkowski was one of many climbers ascending Mt. Everest when the earthquake hit. He says that he ducked behind his tent when it happened.

He says the avalanche caused strong winds that blew over tents and caused rocks and other sharp objects to be thrown about. 

Malkowski’s base camp was barely affected by the quake. Other sections of the mountain were devastated. Marissa Eve Girawong, a young doctor from Edison, was killed on the mountain when her camp was destroyed. She was working as a doctor at the camp.

Malkowski was home in New Jersey within 30 hours of leaving the camp, thanks to his sponsor who was able to get him on a helicopter off the mountain. He says his thoughts are with the people of Nepal who weren’t so lucky.

“The people are really great, but so poor,” he says. “Something like this will set them back 20 years.”

Malkowski is urging anyone who can help donate to the victims to do so.