The bodies of two Mexican climbers have been found 55 years after their team went missing on one of Mexico’s highest peaks. They were found entombed in a block of ice on Pico de Orizaba, at an altitude of 17,290 feet .
A surviving member of the original team believes the men to be his missing friends who all went missing in an avalanche. He survived by digging and climbing his way out. The two partially mummified climbers will be freed and cut from the ice by authorities. Efforts are under way to bring them down in a helicopter. One more member of the 1959 avalanche disaster is yet to be located.
The independent reports:
The corpses appeared to have been partly mummified, with skin and muscle tissue and some clothing visible. Glaciers have been known to preserve bodies for years – sometimes thousands of years such as the Tyrolean Ice Man who was found in 1991 on the border of Austria and Italy 5,000 years after he was killed by an arrow.
Juan Navarro, the mayor of Chalchicomula de Sesma, the town nearest Pico de Orizaba, said: “It all leads to think this was the 1959 expedition in which they disappeared. I believe there should be another corpse, because three were reported [in the avalanche].
“The ice is crystalized, they are practically planted in concrete. The idea is to get them out … but yesterday the weather was a bit complicated, because of the fog.
“It is a very difficult area where people normally don’t go. It is an area where there is only snow, and no route.”
The mountain is a dormant volcano which is thought to have last erupted between 1545 and 1566 and the first known ascent – locals may have done it earlier – was by two US soldiers, William Raynolds and G Maynard, in 1848. Mount Kilimanjaro is the only dormant volcano that is higher.
Officials from Chalchicomula de Sesma hope to be able to use a government helicopter to bring the corpses down, once they are dug out of the ice.
The head and hand protruding from the ice were spotted by a climbing team a few days ago and it was realised they were from two bodies when a recovery team was sent up the mountain to dig out the remains.
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