Search ends for Japanese climbers on Mt. McKinley

2:27 PM, Jun 17, 2012   |    comments
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The National Park Service says it has permanently suspended efforts to recover the bodies of four Japanese climbers killed in an avalanche on Alaska's Mount McKinley.

A Denali National Park spokeswoman said in a news release Sunday that a team of 10 searchers reached the likely location of the climbers on Saturday, and that a mountaineering ranger lowered himself into the same crevasse that the party's one survivor fell into.

The ranger probed through avalanche debris 100 feet beneath the glacier's surface and found a broken rope that matched that of the Japanese team. The risk of ice falling made it too dangerous to keep digging.

Rangers also now say that the avalanche occurred early Wednesday morning, not Thursday. The lone survivor, 69-year-old Hitoshi Ogi, reached a base camp to report the avalanche Thursday afternoon.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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