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Tragedy on Russia’s Mount Elbrus: Five amateur climbers die due to inclement weather while ascending Europe’s highest mountain

Five tourists ascending Russia’s Mount Elbrus died on Thursday night while waiting for help, after harsh weather conditions caused a group of 19 climbers to call for assistance. The 14 others required medical attention.

At 5,462 meters, Elbrus is Europe’s highest peak and is located in the western part of the Caucasus, near the country’s border with Georgia. Nowadays, it is part of Prielbrusye National Park, a popular tourist destination for Russians seeking a break in the outdoors.

Tragedy on Russia’s Mount Elbrus: Five amateur climbers die due to inclement weather while ascending Europe’s highest mountain

On Thursday, a group of 19 climbers from various regions of Russia began ascending Elbrus. The group initially consisted of 23 people, but four refused to set off. Later that evening, when the group had reached an altitude of 5,400 meters, the group called for assistance, realizing the weather had worsened so significantly that they could not descend. To add further complications, one member of the group had also broken their leg. Some 70 rescuers then took part in an operation to save the alpinists, which was completed at 2:45am.

Tragedy on Russia’s Mount Elbrus: Five amateur climbers die due to inclement weather while ascending Europe’s highest mountain

Five members of the group died, and the other 14 were given medical help. According to the Ministry of Health, 11 are still hospitalized, including two in intensive care. Almost all the climbers have severe frostbite.

According to the organizer of the climb, Denis Alimov, the group had four instructors. The search and rescue operation was complicated by their decision to split up when one member of the group needed to be carried down to safety. The victim later died ‘in his arms,’ Alimov revealed.

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Speaking to newspaper Izvestia, survival instructor Dmitry Aleshkin explained that it is extremely difficult for untrained climbers to survive during a “black” blizzard when visibility is minimal.

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