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U.S. climber, thought dead,
rescued from Mount Everest

avalanche

May 13, 1996
Web posted at: 1:50 p.m. EDT (1750 GMT)

KATMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- An American and a Taiwanese mountain climber were plucked from Mount Everest in what is believed to be the world's highest rescue, officials said Monday.

The rescue took place at an altitude of nearly 20,000 feet.

"There was no place for us to land but somehow, we managed and picked up the climbers," said the pilot, Lt. Col. Madan K.C.

Snow covered mountains

Rescue officials said American Seaborn Beck Weathers and Taiwan's Ming-Ho Gau were rescued from Mount Everest. Both suffered severe frostbite.

The two hikers were feared dead after a weekend blizzard and an avalanche struck the world's highest mountain. As a result, 24 climbers who had reached the summit were trapped.

Weathers, a 49-year-old pathologist from Dallas, was reported missing Friday after he scaled the 29,028-foot peak. He had almost reached a lower camp on Sunday when the rescuers spotted him. By the time rescuers got to him, Weathers could not walk.

rocks and snow

Ming-Ho, a 47-year-old photographer from Taipei who led a five-member expedition, also scaled the summit Friday. Ming-Ho was dragged to safety by other hikers and then lifted into the helicopter.

Both climbers were rushed to Katmandu, capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, where they were taken to a private nursing home.

Nursing home officials would not comment on their condition but rescuers said they were in critical condition.

Two Americans were still missing and at least five other mountain climbers were reportedly killed in the weekend blizzard.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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