Rescuers are searching for six teenagers who have been buried under five meters of snow after an avalanche hit them on a mountain slope in East Siberia. Their classmate who managed to escape the snow trap is currently in hospital.
The group was heading to the summit of Mount Ak-Bashtyg in the republic of Tyva, East Siberia, when the avalanche hit.
The teens wanted to place flags on top of the mountain which is believed by the locals to bring luck, said Russia's Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov on his Twitter page @RFdeti.
The avalanche as high as 5-6 meters was about 200 meters in
width and 600 meters in length according to the Emergencies
Ministry's information. The threat of further avalanches in
the area remains high.
One of the youths, Anton Salchak, aged 17, was able to escape and reported the disaster. He is in hospital in shock, but physically unharmed.
“The place where the avalanche hit is wild and not equipped. Letting them go there was dangerous. But they did not ask for permission. It’s a terrible tragedy. But we have hope” said Astahov on Twitter.
One local Aruna Tsybikova writes in her Twitter page @Arunayenzak:
“The deed was for a holy cause …but they killed themselves :(( You cannot let this happen next time!”
A crew of 147 emergency ministry rescuers and 25 pieces of machinery are engaged in the mission to search 3,500 square meters of the avalanche site. They have been joined by about ninety volunteers, who are also helping the rescue effort, local authorities have told RIA.
Reinforcements are on their way from different regions of Siberia including Kyzyl, Khakassia and Krasnoyarsk.