Search ends for Japanese climbers on US mountainAssociated Press
WASHINGTON – Search efforts for four Japanese climbers who went missing after being hit by an avalanche on Mount McKinley in Alaska, have been called off and the four were presumed dead, an official said Sunday.
The only trace of the four was a frayed rope found by searchers, said National Park Service spokeswoman Kris Fister at Denali National Park in Alaska.
“We have suspended recovery efforts. They are buried in a crevasse, and it would be dangerous to put people in there to remove remains,” she said.
Mount McKinley in Alaska state is North America’s tallest peak, standing at 6,194 meters (20,320 feet).
Five climbers on an expedition to scale the mountain were caught up in the avalanche on Thursday, an official at Miyagi Workers Alpine Federation, the organiser of the tour, told AFP in Tokyo.
One, Hitoshi Ogi, 69, of Miyagi prefecture, escaped from a crevasse and made it back to base camp.
Fister said that given the time elapsed, there was a presumption that the four were dead.
“Yes, given the length of time. It’s a difficult situation,” she said noting that there was a “very real threat” to searchers getting in the crevasse.
“Falling into a crevasse, people don’t last very long,” she added.
Rescuers had searched with helicopters and on foot since Friday.
They were Yoshiaki Kato, age 64; Masako Suda, age 50; Michiko Suzuki, age 56; and Tamao Suzuki, age 63, all from Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, the spokeswoman said.
Originally posted at 06:43 am| Monday, June 18, 2012