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AKIPRESS.COM - The bodies of all 17 mountaineers, who went missing after successfully climbing to the summit of Mount Otgontenger in Mongolia despite a ban, have been found, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of Mongolia said Wednesday.
Brigadier General Gombojav Ariunbuyan, first deputy head of the NEMA, said at a press conference that the climbers could have fallen from the cliff.
The 17 Mongolians, including seven women, were among a group of 27 climbers who successfully stood on Mount Otgontenger, the highest peak of the Khangai Mountains in Mongolia standing 4,021 meters above sea level. But they ran into an avalanche during their descent and were reported missing Sunday.
The bodies were found at an altitude of 3,200-3,450 meters on the mountain, the NEMA official said.
A rescue team from the NEMA searched for the missing mountaineers from Oct. 23 to 25, discovering 10 bodies Monday. Four more were found Tuesday and the last three found Wednesday.
The search and rescue operation led by Deputy Prime Minister Ulziisaikhan Enkhtuvshin involved over 200 people and two helicopters.
Since 2015, the authorities have banned climbing Mount Otgontenger for environmental protection.
The mountaineers went up despite the ban and ignored a call by the inspector for environmental protection of Zavkhan Province, where the peak is located, to suspend their ascent, Xinhua reports.