Updated: 05/31/2014 8:30 PM |
Created: 05/31/2014 5:17 PM
By: MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) - A Mount Rainier National Park official says six climbers are presumed dead after helicopters detected pings from emergency beacons buried in the snow thousands of feet below their last known location.
Park Ranger Fawn Bauer said Saturday that "there's not a viable chance of survival." She says the helicopter crew spotted camping and climbing gear in an avalanche-prone area more than 3,000 feet below the group's last known whereabouts. The six were at 12,800 feet at last contact Wednesday.
Air and ground searches were suspended late Saturday afternoon. Bauer said the bodies won't be recovered Sunday because they are in an extremely dangerous area, where snow, ice and rock fall constantly.
The missing group includes four clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International and two guides. They were due to return from the mountain Friday.
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