Avalanche sweeps Spanish climbers away
May 14, 2007 - 11:52:25 AM

Kathmandu, May 14 - Tragedy struck Sunday as two Spanish mountaineers were swept away by an avalanche while they were climbing Mt Dhaulagiri in Nepal, the seventh highest peak in the world.

Santiago Sagaste, who was leading a six-member Spanish team called 'Club Exea Dhaulagiri Expedition', has gone missing with teammate Ricardo Valencia after an avalanche buried their camp on the way to the 8,167-metre peak.

A third Spanish climber, Javi Serrano, and an Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbruner, were luckier and escaped though their gear was swept away.

The other members of the Spanish team were in another camp below and therefore were unscathed by the disaster.

Dhaulagiri, which means the white mountain, has been proving to be the deadliest Himalayan peak this season.

On May 1, Italian Sergio Dalla Longa perished on the mountain while another Soanish climber had a lucky escape.

Jorge Egocheaga was struck by an avalanche and swept almost 800 m down the slope. However, he survived that as well as a fall into a crevasse and returned to the lower camp.

Bad weather and a raging storm has been dogging the peak this month, making summitting a difficult task.

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