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Mountaineers die after avalanche
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-05 06:20

At least one person is confirmed dead and two are believed dead following an avalanche on Saturday in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, local officials said yesterday.

The dead person, identified as a man from Shandong Province in East China, was found on Sunday, according to a source with the rescue team.

The other two men, from Beijing and Hong Kong, were still missing after two days' searching.

"There is almost no possibility of survival," said Gao Chengxue, deputy director with Qinghai Mountaineering Administration.

A 70-member rescue team was sent to the site to conduct rescue work by the local public security department and related authorities.

The cold weather aside, the two would find it impossible to breathe if they are buried under the snow, said Gao.

"Hope is dwindling," he added.

The three were among a six-member climbing team, consisting of one woman and five men, who went to Chahanhe National Forest Park in Menyuan County.

The three surviving members are all from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province.

The six were walking through an area called Ertanggou at an altitude of 3,300 metres when they decided to walk to the other side of a mountain to get a better view of the landscape.

But as they slid down one side of the mountain there was an avalanche, said Gao.

"The snow on the slope wasn't solid following a snowfall just days ago," he added.

Menyuan County has had few avalanches before, according to Liu Zhiyou, publicity director in the county.

The climbers did not go through proper registration procedures with the local mountaineering administration before they set off, Liu added.

Menyuan County is not a hot destination among climbing lovers due to its low altitude, according to Gao.

"There is more danger if the climbers have little knowledge of local situations. However, many people take risks," Gao said.

Another avalanche in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, the largest in Qinghai Province in recent decades, occurred last month, devastating over 266.6 hectares of grassland.

(China Daily 04/05/2005 page3)

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