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Falling rocks kill 3 climbers on Mt. Kilimanjaro
05 Jan 2006 08:37:48 GMT
DAR ES SALAAM, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Three tourists, including one American, were killed when rocks tumbled down Mount Kilimanjaro and smashed into climbers preparing to scale the peak of Africa's highest mountain, officials said on Thursday.
Tanzania National Parks director Gerald Bigurube said five other people were injured by the rock slide close to Arrow Glacier base camp early on Wednesday.
The camp, located at an altitude of some 4,700 metres, lies on one of the mountain's most arduous routes.
"I can confirm that three people were killed and five were injured," Bigurube told Reuters. "We're sorting out the identities."
Mohamed Chiko, commander of the local police, said one of the dead was an American, but U.S. embassy officials were unable to confirm this.
Rising to 5,895 metres (19,430 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro, in northern Tanzania, has three peaks -- Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. Every year, more than 20,000 trekkers set out to reach the "roof of Africa", the world's largest volcano.
U.S. scientists have predicted that the mountain's fast-melting glaciers will disappear in less than 20 years. It is thought that the shrinking glaciers have loosened rocks they once held in place
From an AP press report: Kilimanjaro Climbers
The regional police commander, Mohamed Chico, identified the dead as Kristian Ferguson, 37, of Colorado; Mary Lou Sammis, 58, of California, and Betty Orrik Sapp, 63, of Tennessee.
The climbers were on the Western Breach route. The article says that the mountain rescue crew evacuated more than 50 climbers early Thursday from the Umbwe route and the camp site, and that all other routes have been suspended from climbing further.
Very sad indeed. Hopefully this is a one time event and not an indication of glacial melt making the mountain unstable for further climbs.
Kudos to the mountain rescue team there, by the way. I had first hand experience of their work, and they were top notch (even if they did complain about not having a helicopter).
The names have now been given, my heartfelt sympathy go to the family of those concerned.
Three American mountaineers were killed and an unknown number of tourists, with their porters and tour guides were seriously injured after a strong wind shook part of Mt Kilimanjaro, hurling down the slope a hail of stones, Police in Kilimanjaro Region confirmed late yesterday.
Briefing reporters, Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander Dr. Mohamed Chicco, named the US tourists who met their death in the catastrophe as Christian Fergusson (27) from Colorado, Mary Lou (54) from California and Betty Orrick (58) from Tennessee .
According to Dr. Chicco, two tourists who were in serious condition after being hit by the rocks, have been taken to Nairobi, Kenya for further treatment.