Two Indian climbers die on world’s third highest mountain

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KATHMANDU (AFP) – Two Indian climbers have died and a Chilean is missing on Mount Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, expedition organisers said Thursday.

Biplab Baidya, 48, and Kuntal Karar, 46, were on the 8,586 metres (28,169 feet) mountain on the Nepal-India border with a five-member team from West Bengal.

Karar fell ill before making it to the summit while Baidya collapsed during his descent, organisers said. Despite rescue attempts, both died above 8,000 metres in the so-called “death zone” where there is not enough oxygen for most humans to breathe normally.

“We believe they suffered from altitude problems. Our guides are trying to bring the bodies down to lower camps,” Keshab Poudel of Peak Promotion told AFP.

A Chilean climber also lost contact on his descent from Kanchenjunga’s summit.

Poudel said a search had started.

Many Himalaya mountains, including Everest, the world’s highest, are at peak climbing season with the window of good weather between late April and the end of May.

Last week experienced Peruvian climber Richard Hidalgo died on Mount Makalu, the world’s fifth-highest mountain, while a Malaysian died in April after being rescued from Mount Annapurna where he spent two nights in the open near the summit.

Hundreds of climbers flock each year to Nepal — home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks — creating a lucrative mountain industry for the impoverished country.

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