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Seven missing Russian hikers found in NW China
Updated: 2009-10-17 21:43

URUMQI: The seven Russian hikers reportedly missing have been found after being trapped for more than one month in remote Kunlun Mountain Range in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local officials said Saturday.

Rescuers of Minfeng County, Hotan Prefecture,found the hikers at 1:00 p.m. Saturday after a friend of a hiker in Shanghai called the public security bureau in Minfeng, telling them the location of the seven Russian hikers at about 8:00 a.m., said officials with the emergency response office of Hotan.

The Russians got in touch with their friend in Shanghai through satellite telephone, officials said. "They are now in good condition."

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The Russian, five men and two women, hiked to the mountains in Minfeng County on September 14, said a spokesman with the prefectural committee of the Communist Party of China, quoting their Chinese interpreter, Zhang Hong.

Zhang accompanied them to Minfeng County seat and returned to Urumqi, the regional capital, alone, the spokesman said. "The Russian tourists contacted Zhang by satellite telephone on October 13, saying they were in danger and one of them was sick."

Zhang called police in Minfeng County and requested help on the same day. Three rescue teams were immediately sent into the mountains, but no trace of the hikers was found, the spokesman said.

The hikers went into the mountains without getting the permission from the local authorities, officials said.

The hikers applied for a hiking tour to the Kunlun Mountain Range to the public security and tourism bureaus of Hotan Prefecture on September 12.

However, the two bureaus denied their permission to proceed due to safety concerns and the Russians promised to quit their plan.

The Kunlun Mountain Range has an elevation of up to 6,000 meters and an extremely harsh climate.