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Six die climbing Russian volcano as icy winds delay rescue

Six people died while climbing the Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano, in Russia’s far east. Six more were stranded Sunday after rescue attempts were thwarted by freezing winds.

Authorities say that the twelve-member party, including two guides, attempted to climb the volcano at 4,754 metres (15,597 feet) on Tuesday (30 August). But, they ran into problems on Saturday, when some members of the group crashed to their deaths at nearly 4,200 metres.

Authorities said that one person may have a fractured leg.

Rescuers tried to reach them on Sunday, but were unable to land due to severe winds.


Rescuers stated that they were supposed to land at 3,300m, but because of gale force winds at 30m/s (67 miles/hour), they were unable to do so. However, two attempts were made within hours.

Overnight, temperatures can drop to minus 14 degrees Celsius.

Tatyana Yukhmanova (a representative of the local civil defense authority) said that rescuers would attempt to reach the group tomorrow if the weather permits.


Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the tallest volcano with over 160 eruptions, has snowy peaks that tower above Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula.

It is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been designated for its extraordinary natural beauty.

Rescuers warn climbers that this mountain is made up of mounds of volcanic rocks and snow/ice and is particularly dangerous due to its high altitude and risk of volcanic eruption.

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