Huge rescue effort on the Ecuador volcano: 3 climbers dead, 12 injured

Ecuador has mobilized a massive rescue effort after a group of climbers fell 180ft on one of the country’s tallest volcanoes.

The government said three climbers died and 12 others were injured during the ascent of an Ecuadorian volcano on Saturday.

The climbers suffered a 60m (about 180ft) fall while on Carihuairazo (16,643ft) around 9.30am on August 13, according to a Press release of ECU911.

Officials from ECU911, the country’s emergency service, located the group’s GPS device and organized the rescue of the climbers. The rescue involved several organizations, including high mountain teams from nearby towns.

It was a “black day” for mountaineering, Ecuadorian Association of Mountain Guides writes on Facebook. A rope slipped and fell as the group of climbers descended from the summit, causing several of them to fall, the group said.

“The seven injured climbers were rescued by a group of climbers who were at the site and stayed with them until rescue teams arrived,” the group said (translated from Spanish).

Fire departments from three nearby towns came to help, along with the Ministry of Public Health and the Special Operations Group of Ecuador. A police helicopter arrived to evacuate the injured mountaineers, and a group from ASEGUIM (Association des Guides de Montagne) assisted in the rescue.

12 mountaineers evacuated during volcano rescue in Ecuador

A 47-year-old woman and two men aged 45 and 50 died in the crash, ECU911 reported. Rescuers was unable to evacuate the three bodies on Saturday, but officials said they would return for them later.

Among the injured were 12 women aged 42 to 52 and 12 men aged 39 to 58. Injuries included bruises, broken bones and headaches, ECU911 reported. Once stabilized, the service said, rescuers evacuated the injured climbers by helicopter to nearby hospitals.

Most of Ecuador’s mountains are volcanoes like Carihuairazo. It is near Chimborazoalso a volcano and the highest mountain in the country at 20,571 feet.

According Position at the top, “Carihuairazo is a good acclimatization peak where you can practice some snow and glacier walking techniques.” However, a local climbing blog suggests the mountain has become more complex with the thawing of its glacier.

“This hike requires crampons, ice axes, harnesses, rope and definitely a helmet.” Hiking Ecuador wrote. “If there is little snow, you also need traditional equipment to climb the last block of the summit. Don’t go if you are unsure of your mountaineering abilities.

It is unclear whether the group was self-guided or climbing as part of a guided tour. But climbing the volcano does not require professional climbing guides.

Affordable Altitude: A Travel Guide to Ecuador’s Cotopaxi
If you’re looking for a new adventure, here’s what you need to know to maximize your chances of reaching the summit of Cotopaxi. Read more…