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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2007, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
UK mountaineer dies on Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
Rescuers said the climbers were not equipped for bad weather
A British climber who died while trying to scale Mont Blanc has been named by the Foreign Office as Mark Emerson.

Mr Emerson, of Malton, North Yorkshire, died from exposure along with three female climbers after they lost their way on the peak in the French Alps.

Local police said the bodies of the 30-year-old and the women, who were from New Zealand, France and Chile, were found at 13,120ft (3,998m).

The Foreign Office said Mr Emerson's next of kin had been informed.

The quartet began their ascent on Monday, but the specialist alpine gendarmerie (PGHM) in nearby Chamonix received a distress call when they reached the area of Bionnassay.

They had been spotted by another group of climbers at an altitude of 13,572ft (4,137m) where they had become trapped in heavy snow and winds of up to 74mph.

The group were all said to be students at an engineering college in Grenoble, France.

Ill-equipped

Sebastian Thomas, from the PGHM, said the four climbers were not equipped to cope with bad weather.

He said they were exhausted and unable to move, but did not have a tent or the necessary equipment to build a snow hole for shelter.

The conditions also made sending a helicopter to rescue them initially impossible.

Two teams, one on foot and another in the air, eventually reached them at about 1600 local time on Tuesday, but all four had died.

Mr Thomas said that had they been better equipped they might have survived.

Several other climbers were also caught out by the difficult weather conditions.

Two Spaniards managed to make it off the mountain themselves, but two Czech climbers had to be airlifted to safety by an Italian mountain rescue team.

At 15,774ft (4,808m), Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in western Europe.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Mont Blanc, where Mark Emmerson was climbing



SEE ALSO
Dead climber found after 17 years
19 Aug 06 |  Bristol/Somerset
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07 Jul 06 |  North East Wales

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