Klyuchevskaya Sopka: Climbers killed during a fall on Russian volcano

·1 min read
Klyuchevskaya volcano in the Kamchatka region
A view of Klyuchevskaya - the highest active volcano in Eurasia

Rescuers in Russia's far east are launching a fresh attempt to reach three climbers stuck on a volcano, after nine of their tour group - all Russians - died heading for the summit.

Five of the victims died in a fall, climbing above 4,000m (13,123ft) on Klyuchevskaya Sopka in Kamchatka.

Russian media report that three are now sheltering from gale-force winds in a volcanologists' hut at 3,300m.

They have told rescuers by phone that they have fuel and food.

Two climbers are in the hut with a guide. A second guide was among the four who died on the mountainside, after five others had plunged to their deaths.

The group was 12-strong when it began the ascent of the 4,754m peak last Tuesday.

The active volcano is especially hazardous because of its height, the risk of eruptions, and its ice and rock falls.

A rescue helicopter managed to land at 1,663m at the fourth attempt, defying the strong wind which is whipping up powder snow and hampering visibility.

It brought rescuers who now face a two-day climb to reach the hut, Lenta.ru website reports.

It is also a race against time, as a new storm is heading towards the volcano, where temperatures can drop to -14C (7F) at night.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka - whose symmetrical cone towers high above the Kamchatka peninsula - is part of the natural Volcanoes of Kamchatka Unesco World Heritage site.

The volcano is considered sacred by some indigenous communities.