FOUR Japanese climbers are presumed dead after they were swept up by a powerful avalanche on Alaska's Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak, the National Park Service said on Saturday.!
Authorities said one man in the group survived and hiked down to get help. The avalanche struck early on Thursday, but searchers working that day and on Friday found no bodies or climbing gear, the Park Service said.!
"We say 'presumed dead' because we haven't found their bodies," said Maureen McLaughlin, spokeswoman for Denali National Park, where the mountain is located. "We are still up there looking today."
If all four are dead, it would be the worst climbing accident on McKinley since 1992, when four Canadian climbers were killed in a fall, McLaughlin said.!
The missing climbers were identified as Yoshiaki Kato, 64; Masako Suda, 50; Michiko Suzuki, 56; and Tamao Suzuki, 63. All are from Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, the Park Service said. They were part of a five-member Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation expedition, and were descending at the time of the accident.!
The sole survivor in the group was Hitoshi Ogi, 69, also from Miyagi Prefecture, the Park Service said. Reuters
Monday, June 18, 2012
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