Rescue operation for missing Kazakh climbers officially completed
ALMATY. KAZINFORM The rescue team which was searching for the three Kazakh climbers stranded in the Tien Shan mountains has returned to Almaty. The search operation has been completed. This was announced at a press conference in Almaty, Kazinform correspondent reports.
Earlier, the Almaty Mountaineering Federation and the Mountaineering and Sports Climbing Federation stated that there was no chance to find the climbers alive.
On August 4, a group of Kazakh climbers – Murat Otepbayev, Andrei Korneyev and Alexander Chechulin – began their expedition to the highest and dangerous mount of the Tien Shan – Pobeda Peak ( 7,439 m). As for the data available, the team reached the peak on August 14 when the weather began worsening. On August 15, Andrei Korneyev got ill, and the group decided to return to the base en Abalakov route. Unfortunately, the climbers got stuck in a snowdrift and lost half of their equipment, tents and food. Korneyev died of pulmonary edema and his companions had no choice but to leave his body at the height of 6,600-6,900meters and make their own way down. August 15 was the last day when the group got into contact with the base camp.
In the evening of August 18, the families of the missing climbers appealed to the public with a request to help in search for their relatives.
The Defense Ministry of Kazakhstan pulled off a rescue operation and in the morning of August 19 a group of military climbers arrived in the Karkara base. However, harsh weather conditions and low visibility made it impossible to begin the operation.
On August 20, as soon as the weather improved, the team began the rescue works. The group performed 14 flights at the height of ftom 5,100 to 6,000 meters, over the area where the climbers were supposed to be, but did not find any signs of them or their belongings. The search works were complicated by several factors - the ascend routes are too broad and the area of possible location of the climbers is too large. Weather conditions were unfavorable too. There was a high risk of avalanches.