Four climbers feared dead after Mount McKinley avalanche

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(CNN) — Four Japanese climbers are feared dead following an avalanche on Alaska’s Mount McKinley, according to the National Park Service.

Park rangers are currently engaged in a search-and-recovery effort after the avalanche barreled down the western side of North America’s highest peak on Thursday, in a section located roughly 11,800 feet above sea level, according to park spokeswoman Maureen Mclaughlin.

“Given how long it’s been and how long they may have been trapped under there, it’s more of a recovery effort at this point,” Mclaughlin said Saturday.

One climber survived the incident after he was swept into a mountain crevasse and was able to climb out, sustaining only minor injuries, the service reported.

Hitoshi Ogi, 69, was unable to locate his fellow climbers and descended solo to the Kahiltna Basecamp and reported the event late Thursday afternoon.

The five climbers were ascending the peak as a team and were using a rope, which snapped during the avalanche.

CNN’s David Ariosto contributed to this report.

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