Four Climbers Feared Dead in Mt. McKinley Avalanche

Saturday, 16 Jun 2012 06:32 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
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.

The avalanche struck on McKinley's West Buttress route, the most commonly used path to climb up and down the mountain. The site was about 11,800 feet up the 20,320-foot mountain, at a point called "Motorcycle Hill."

The area is fairly steep, with a slope of about 35 degrees, and prone to avalanches. But there had not been any avalanche fatalities there until now, McLaughlin said.

Ogi was likely saved by falling into a crevasse, where the avalanche debris swept over him but did not bury him, McLaughlin said. Ogi, who suffered minor injuries, looked unsuccessfully for his climbing partners, then descended to the mountain's 7,200-foot elevation base camp to ask for help, she said.

All five were roped together, but the rope broke in the avalanche, McLaughlin said.

"His partners may have fallen into the same crevasse he was in, or they may have continued further down and fallen into another crevasse," she said.

The avalanche was about 200 feet wide, and it slid about 800 feet down the mountain, she said.

Park rangers and volunteers, now equipped with a search dog, will continue to probe the avalanche site on Saturday, McLaughlin said.

McKinley's climbing season runs from late April to early July. In a typical year, 1,200 to 1,300 climbers attempt to sc ale the peak.

Last month, in separate falling accidents, a German climber and a Finnish skier were killed on McKinley.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Pat Buchanan: US Ceasing to Be Christian Country

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 23:27 PM

The United States was founded on a predominantly Christian world view that is quickly disappearing, Pat Buchanan says. . . .

Seattle Cop Who Issued 80% of Marijuana Tickets Reassigned

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 22:55 PM

The Seattle Police Department has reassigned an officer who single-handedly issued about 80 percent of the marijuana tic . . .

Letterman, Jay Carney Joke About Press Secretary Non-Answers

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 22:28 PM

Jay Carney, who recently resigned as press secretary for President Barack Obama, was a guest on "The Late Show with Davi . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved