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Two women survive as avalanche 'kills' seven climbers in Altai Mountains

By The Siberian Times reporter
08 May 2019

A group of nine tourists - some reportedly from Siberia’s largest university - hit by tragedy on the South Chuya mountain ridge.

Eight rescuers are flying to the avalanche site now. Pictured are two of the group members during a previous trip

The group was struck by an avalanche two days ago, 11 am on 6 May, but the two female survivors did not have the means to report the tragic accident. 

The news only broke when the two young women met another group of mountain climbers who contacted local rescuers. 

The climbers, some of them postgraduate students from the Novosibirsk State University - left a village of Kosh Agach on 1 May, aiming to spend two weeks in the wild. 

The tourists were registered with the local Ministry of Emergencies as ‘Group 37’. 

Eight rescuers are flying to the avalanche site now.

Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 

The group member Yulia Odarenko


The search for the other climbers will begin as soon as the helicopter reaches the avalanche site.

A man from Novosibirsk called Ilya heard about the tragedy from his wife who is currently in the mountains. 

‘A group from the Novosibirsk State University went to the mountains, my wife met the two survivors,’ he said.

‘It took the girls two days to find another group of tourists. 

‘They are in the state of absolute shock.

‘They were crying non-stop as they were searching for help.’

Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 

Valeria Odarenko and the South Chuya mountaian ridge where the climbers were hit by the avalanche


The two survivors were identified as Natalya Antonova and Ekaterina Polyanskaya.

The group was led by Nikolay Simonov, a highly experienced mountain climber from Novosibirsk who has walked the Altai Mountains for years.

‘It happened in less than a second.

'The three of them were walking in a small group ahead of the others. Suddenly there was a rumble, they turned to see the third of them swallowed by an avalanche. 

‘The area where they were is extremely dangerous and avalanche-prone due to a lot of snow. The survivors are absolutely shuttered, devastated’, Ilya added.

The head of the group was named as Nikolay Simonov.

Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 


Two female university students survive as avalanche kills seven climbers in Altai Mountains 

Group leader Nikolay Simonov (top) and one of the group members Igor Blinov


The group members hit by the avalanche were named as:

Igor Blinov

Yulia Vorobyeva

Sergey Naumenko

Valeria Odarenko

Ivan Fokanov

Dmitry Sharifulin

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