UPDATE: Six Missing Climbers Likely Died in Mountain Fall
By Katie Lyons
Sat May 31st, 2014 12:59pm America/Los_Angeles
SEATTLE (AP) — Mount Rainier National Park officials say six climbers likely perished in a fall after helicopters detected pings from avalanche beacons and spotted climbing gear thousands of feet below the group’s last known location.
Park spokeswoman Patricia Wold said searchers believe the group fell 3,300 feet from their last known whereabouts of 12,800 feet on Wednesday.
Park Ranger Fawn Bauer said Saturday that “there’s not a viable chance of survival.”
Bauer says the helicopter crew spotted camping and climbing gear in the avalanche-prone area.
Air and ground searches were suspended late Saturday afternoon. Wold said no recovery plans are in place because of the danger of falling rock and ice.
The missing group includes four clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International and two guides. They were due to return from the mountain Friday.
(Copyright 2014, The Associated Press, All rights reserved.)