A sudden storm has claimed the lives of five people who were climbing Mount Elbrús, the highest peak in Europe located in the Russian Caucasus, rescue services reported on Friday. “We were able to save 14 people, who were evacuated in chain-link vehicles and cared for by medical personnel. Unfortunately, five people died, ”the Russian Emergency Ministry said in a statement on its Telegram account.
The group of 19 climbers were trapped at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters due to a sudden worsening of the weather conditions. After receiving the alert, the emergency service dispatched 69 people and 16 vehicles to rescue them immediately. “The first responders worked in the most difficult conditions. The strength of the wind reached between 40-70 meters per second and the temperature dropped to -20 degrees, ”the Russian ministry said.
The rescue operation lasted almost five hours, until 2:45 a.m. local time on Friday. Quoted by the TASS press agency, Denis Alimov, a person in charge who organized the ascent, indicated that a woman from the expedition felt bad on Thursday morning and decided to return with a guide. Despite this abandonment, the rest of the group continued to the top before being surprised by the storm. The woman died during the descent, Alimov said.
Mount Elbrús, 5,642 meters high, is the highest peak in the Caucasus and Europe. Fatal accidents are frequent, but rarely with such a high number of victims. Along with the bodies of the deceased, the emergency services have also rescued 14 other members of the expedition who, once they have come down from the mountain, have received medical attention.
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