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4 Japanese climbers on Mount McKinley presumed dead in avalanche

Alaska Dispatch

Four Japanese climbers caught in an avalanche attempting to summit Mount McKinley appear to have perished, according to the National Park Service and multiple news agencies.

Denali National Park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin told Reuters the men were "presumed" dead because their bodies had not yet been recovered.

Park officials were notified by one climber from the group who survived the Thursday morning avalanche on McKinley's West Buttress, the most common path to summit the tallest summit in North America. He made his way down to get help.

"'The avalanche was about 200 feet wide, and it slid about 800 feet down the mountain,'" McLaughlin told Reuters.

The missing climbers have been identified as Yoshiaki Kato, 64; Masako Suda, 50; Michiko Suzuki, 56; and Tamao Suzuki, 63.

If all four men did indeed die, it could be the worst climbing accident on McKinley in 20 years, Reuters reported.

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