4 Climbers Presumed Dead After Avalanche

Mount McKinley search for survivors impeded by snow and wind
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2012 2:21 PM CDT
4 Japanese Climbers Presumed Dead After Avalanche
Mount McKinely is seen from a viewing area along the Parks Highway, not far from Talkeetna, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

(Newser) – Four members of a Japanese climbing team are presumed dead after an avalanche swept them off a hill on Mount McKinley. US National Park Service officials say five people were traveling as one rope team early Thursday morning as part of a Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation expedition. One team member, 69-year-old Hitoshi Ogi, was swept into a crevasse and survived. The other four tumbled into the avalanche debris and haven't been seen since.

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The Park Service says in a news release that nearly 400 mountaineers were making rescue attempts today on the Alaska mountain's West Buttress. Snowfall and wind have impeded the search. The four missing climbers are 64-year-old Yoshiaki Kato, 50-year-old Masako Suda, 56-year-old Michiko Suzuki, and 63-year-old Tamao Suzuki. (Read more mountain climber stories.)

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