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The Carlit peak, on the eastern French side of the Pyrenees. R.C.
Two missing Spanish mountaineers found dead in the French Pyrenees

Two missing Spanish mountaineers found dead in the French Pyrenees

The pair intended to climb the Carlit peak, but called the rescue services after they were caught in bad weather at an altitude of 2,700 metres

R.C.

Madrid

Tuesday, 4 April 2023

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French emergency services have located the bodies of two Spanish mountaineers who had been missing since the weekend in the area of the Carlit peak, on the eastern French side of the Pyrenees.

It is believed that they could have died due to the low temperatures - up to 25 degrees below zero were recorded in the area - aggravated by the bad weather conditions with snow, ice and very strong wind gusts of more than 100 kilometres per hour.

The French authorities had mobilised different resources to locate the two mountaineers after receiving a first call for help from the climbers themselves. On Monday some 15 rescuers were involved in the search, including specialist mountain teams, reported local French media.

The difficult weather conditions, aggravated by poor visibility, meant that the rescue helicopter waiting in the area could not be used much of the time.

The two mountaineers, 54 and 56, left Barcelona on Saturday to do some high-mountain hiking trails. Their objective was to reach the Carlit peak, whose summit is 2,921 metres above sea level in the French region of Occitania, passing through the Alta Cerdanya region.

They planned to spend the night in a mountain refuge, although apparently they never managed to locate it due to the bad weather and exhaustion. For this reason they had to spend the night outdoors despite the strong wind and snow, according to Europa Press.

Only their altitude was known

The two mountaineers managed to contact the Bolquère mountain rescue services early Sunday morning, after spending the night in the open. They told them their altitude, 2,700 metres, but they could not indicate the exact geographical position, which made subsequent rescue tasks difficult.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, the two men sent several subsequent messages until their mobile phone ran out of battery; in the last one they said that they had taken refuge in their sleeping bags in an area where there seemed to be less wind.

A French civil security helicopter similar to the one that had difficulties in participating in the rescue efforts - due to bad weather.
A French civil security helicopter similar to the one that had difficulties in participating in the rescue efforts - due to bad weather. R.C.

The French news portal actu.fr reported that a helicopter was able to fly over the area on Monday. After going around the area several times, the crew managed to spot the bodies of the two climbers when they were near the Tossal Colomer peak, 2,700 metres above sea level.

The authorities have opened an investigation, although it appears that both died of hypothermia and fatigue during the period from Sunday night to Monday morning, unable to withstand the extreme cold temperatures. Once the bodies were recovered, they were transferred to the French city of Perpignan.

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