Six people died while climbing Russia’s Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano in the far east, and six more are believed to be stranded on Sunday after freezing winds thwarted a rescue attempt.
The group of twelve, which included two guides, set out to climb the 15,597-foot volcano on Tuesday but ran into trouble on Saturday when some of the group died at nearly 13,800 feet, according to authorities.
Authorities believe one person suffered a broken leg.
Rescuers attempted to reach them on Sunday but had to turn back as severe winds prevented their helicopter from landing.
“They were scheduled to land at an altitude of 10,800 feet, but due to gale force winds at 67 miles per hour, they failed to do so, although two attempts were made a few hours apart,” rescuers said.
Temperatures on the mountain can reach as low as minus 7 Fahrenheit overnight.
Tatyana Yukhmanova, a representative from the local civil defence authority, said that rescuers will try to reach the group again tomorrow if weather conditions allow.
Klyuchevskaya Sopka is the tallest of over 160 volcanoes whose snowy peaks tower over Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula.
It forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed for its exceptional natural beauty.
Rescuers warn that the mountain, made up mounds of volcanic rocks mixed with snow and ice, is considered particularly hazardous to climbers due to its altitude and the risk of volcanic eruption.