What appears to be three bodies have been spotted on Mount Rainier in an area where six climbers went missing in May, the National Park Service said Tuesday.
The bodies were spotted last week during a helicopter flyover as part of a training exercise with Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“Every time we had a helicopter in the park, we would fly over that area,” park spokeswoman Patti Wold said.
Park officials are assessing the terrain to determine whether there is a safe way to recover the bodies, which were lying at the base of a steep, crumbly wall that likely is dropping rock and ice.
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“At this point, we’re exploring methods to recover the bodies in a way that won’t endanger our rangers,” Wold said. “It’s not a safe place to send someone.”
Four climbers and two guides from Alpine Ascents International are believed to have fallen 3,300 feet during their climb of Liberty Ridge in late May.
It’s unknown whether an avalanche or rock fall caused the accident, the second-deadliest in park history.
During the search for the team, rangers found gear buried in the snow at top of the Carbon Glacier at 9,500 feet.
The climbing team comprised guides Matt Hegeman, 38, and Eitan Green, 28, and climbers Mark Mahaney, 26, of St. Paul, Minnesota; John Mullally, 40, of Seattle; Uday Marty, 40, of Singapore; and Erik Kolb, 34, of Brooklyn.