Four Climbers Presumed Dead After Mount McKinley Avalanche

The U.S. Park Service reports that four Japanese mountain climbers are presumed dead after an avalanche on Mount McKinley.

The four Japanese members of a climbing team have been missing since they were reportedly swept off of a hill during an avalanche on Mount McKinley. The search for survivors of the avalanche has been difficult, as snow and high winds have made conditions quite unfriendly for a good search. According to the U.S. National Park Service officials, five people were traveling together as a single rope team early on Thursday morning. They were part of a Miyagi Workers Alpine Federations expedition.

Of the five members of the team, only one has survived, according to reports. Team member Hitoshi Ogi, 69-years-old, was swept into a crevasse which allowed him to survive. The other four were lost into the avalanche debris and they haven’t been seen since, despite the best seatching efforts of the Park Service.

In a news release, the Park Service says that they have nearly 400 mountaineers searching the Alaska mountain’s West Buttress for survivors of the avalanche. Snowfall and wind have made the search difficult, but the search is still underway. The four members of the original rope team still missing are: 64-year-old Yoshiaki Kato, 50-year-old Masako Suda, 56-year-old Michiko Suzuki, and 63-year-old Tamao Suzuki.

More on this story as it develops.