Sunday, April 14, 2024

2 climbers are dead and another is missing on Pico de Orizaba, Mexico’s highest mountain

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Two people died and another remains missing on Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in the country, authorities said Wednesday.

Authorities in the central state of Puebla said late Tuesday that rescuers had found the body of a guide who was leading an ascent of the 18,619-foot volcanic peak. Another person from the 12-member climbing group died earlier on the peak, which is also known by its Indigenous name Citlaltépetl.

The guide’s body was found at an altitude of about 15,000 feet. The body was being brought down from the mountain on Wednesday.

The state interior department said the search was still ongoing for another climber from the group who remained missing.

Beryl TV  2 climbers are dead and another is missing on Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's highest mountain World
Mexico’s highest peak and the third-highest peak in North America, Pico de Orizaba, rises above the morning mist as seen from a Mexican Navy aircraft on July 23, 2013.

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

The state civil defense office said the group had started up the mountain on Saturday, but lost their way amid difficult weather conditions. Five made it down on their own Sunday, and four others were rescued on the mountain.

Accidents on the peak are not uncommon, and since 2015 rescuers and climbers have found at least three mummified bodies in the snow there. The bodies apparently belonged to climbers lost in a 1959 avalanche.

At least six people have died on Pico de Orizaba in more recent years. 

In 2023, four Mexican citizens died in a climbing accident on the mountain. Earlier, in 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico said a member of the U.S. diplomatic mission died in another climbing incident on the mountain. In that accident, rescue teams in helicopters flew for two days through bad weather on a mission to rescue two American climbers, one of whom survived, the embassy said at the time.

In November 2017, another American climber died on the mountain. They were with a group of seven others, all of whom were rescued.

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