Four people have been killed and a fifth injured in an avalanche in the snow-capped volcano Chimborazo (center) in Ecuador, emergency services said Sunday.
“We are confirming that four people have been killed and another injured,” auxiliary officials said, noting that a total of twelve people were trapped in the avalanche.
“The avalanche occurred at an altitude of 6,100 meters above sea level when a group climbed the snow-covered Chimborazo,” they said in a statement.
“Basic information shows a group of twelve,” they said.
Chimborazo is an ice-covered volcano in Ecuador that reaches an altitude of 6,263 meters, 180 km south of Quito. It is the highest peak in the Andes of Ecuador and the highest peak in the world.
At its foot are the towns of Riobamba and Ambato (the capitals of Chimborazo and Tungurahua provinces).
The non-skiing massif attracts national and foreign climbers.
Police and soldiers skilled in high-altitude operations, as well as rescuers, traveled to Chimborazo, where authorities set up a unified command post to coordinate relief efforts.
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment has ordered the temporary closure of the Chimborazo Nature Reserve, which is frequently visited by tourists.
In 2003, the body of an Ecuadorian plane crashed in 1976 with 59 people on board, and was found at the bottom of a volcano.
The device hit the Chimborazo wall and hid in the snow after the avalanche until it was found by climbers 700 meters from the summit.
In 2015, the remains of three aliens who disappeared 20 to 30 years ago were also found at an altitude of 5,600 meters.
In 1994, an avalanche in Chimborazo killed ten people, including six French and one Swiss.