Nine die climbing Russian volcano as icy winds delay rescue
Eight people have died climbing the Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano in Russia's far east, after freezing winds halted a rescue attempt. Earlier local authorities said six people had been killed and six more were believed to be stranded from the party of 12, which included two guides. "Two more died," Interfax quoted Roman Vasilevsky, Kamchatka territory's deputy prime minister, as saying. His information came from a guide, who was communicating from the volcano by satellite phone. The party of 12 set off to climb the 4 754-metre volcano on Tuesday, 30 August 2022 but ran into trouble on Saturday when some of the group fell to their death at almost 4 200 metres.
One person is thought to have a broken leg, they added.
Rescuers attempted to reach them on Sunday, 4 September 2022 but had to turn back as severe winds and cloud cover prevented their helicopter from landing. "They were scheduled to land at an altitude of 3 300 metres but due to gale force winds at 30 metres per second, they failed to do so, although two attempts were made a few hours apart," rescuers said.
The three surviving members of the Russian tour group stranded in freezing winds on Eurasia's highest active volcano were rescued on Tuesday, 6 September 2022, the regional emergency ministry said, after nine died on their way to the summit.
After setting up camp at 3 300 metres, eight members of the group and one of the guides set off to climb higher on Saturday.
Of those nine, investigators say at least five fell to their deaths at around 4 150 metres on Saturday, while the rest died subsequently, as temperatures on the mountain dropped to minus 14 degrees Celsius overnight.
The three remaining members of the group, two tourists and a guide, were rescued on Tuesday after sheltering lower down the mountain at a cabin used by volcanologists.
The regional emergency ministry said the guide had suffered frostbite but that the other two were in a relatively stable condition. All three were taken by helicopter to a nearby village, it said.
Rescuers warn that the mountain, made up mounds of volcanic rocks mixed with snow and ice, is considered particularly hazardous to climbers due to its altitude and the risk of volcanic eruption.
Klyuchevskaya Sopka is the tallest of over 160 volcanoes whose snowy peaks tower over Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. It forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed for its exceptional natural beauty.
Investigators are now conducting a criminal investigation into the director of a tour company based in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.