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Missing Beijing climbers found
By Liu Weifeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-05 09:56

Eighteen missing Beijing mountaineers climbing Mount Xiaowutai in neighbouring Hebei Province were back in contact with a rescue team last night and were headed safely home, officials said.

"They are now climbing down a mountain at an altitude of 2,300 metres," said a source with an assistance office, temporarily set up at the mountain's natural reserve administration office at a height of 1,200 metres.

Among the 18 climbers that included four female members, one had injured his ankles, and four were suffering from frostbite.

Most were experienced mountaineers.

They arrived at the foot of Mount Xiaowutai on December 31, and planned to conquer the 2,800-metremountain the next day.

Scheduled to come down on Sunday, however, the 18-member team made a call to a local hotel saying they needed urgent help for the injured climber, the Beijing Times reported.

Some of the families of the climbers reported them missing to a climbing website where the group had organized their trip. Visitors to the site alerted authorities.

Another group of climbers visiting the mountain responded quickly to the accident, diverting their original climbing plans to start a rescue mission.

Five local villagers also were taking part in the search.

Thanks to the satellite positioning telephones used by the rescuers, the location of the missing climbers was discovered by 10 am yesterday.

Carrying sufficient supplies of food, water and tents enabled the missing climbers to subsist without difficulty and ward off the cold.

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