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Search ends for Korean climbers missing in Himalayas

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Published : Oct. 30, 2011 - 09:49

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KATHMANDU (Yonhap News) -- The Himalayan search for renowned South Korean mountaineer Park Young-seok and his two missing teammates has ended for the year due to concerns about the safety of rescue climbers, an official said Saturday, pledging to resume operations next year.

"We've ended this year's search as winter is coming soon and snow and stones keep falling on the presumed area of disappearance," said Lee In-jeong, head of the Korean Alpine Federation (KAF) that has led the search operations, during an interview in the Nepalese capital.

"We will continue the search next year," he said.

Lee said that he and family members will fly aboard a helicopter Sunday over the region where the three are believed to have gone missing before holding a memorial service for them at the base camp.

Park, Kang Ki-seok and Shin Dong-min were on a mission to Annapurna when their base lost contact with them on Oct. 18.

Annapurna is one of the world's 14 highest peaks, which are collectively called the "eight-thousanders," since each is at least 8,000 meters above sea level.

Park, 47, is one of the world's most successful climbers. In 2005, he became the first in the world to complete the true Adventurers' Grand Slam, which entails reaching the North Pole and the South Pole, and scaling the 14 eight-thousanders and the Seven Summits, which are the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Park is the first of four South Koreans to have climbed all 14 eight-thousanders. He has already scaled Annapurna and returned this time to try a different route on the mountain's southern side.

<한글기사>

'실종 박영석 대장' 수색작업 중단



히말라야 안나푸르나에서 실종된 박영석 대장과 신동민, 강기석 대원에 대한 수색작업이 일단 중단됐다.

대한산악연맹 관계자는 29일 "수색작업이 어제부로 중단됐으며 이를 박 대장 등 의 가족에게 통보했다"고 밝혔다.

이후 추가수색 여부는 이인정 대한산악연맹 회장이 29일 낮 카트만두에 도착해 실종자 가족들과 협의하고 현지 사고대책반의 의견 등을 종합적으로 들은 뒤 결정할 것으로 보인다.

박영석 원정대는 지난 18일 오후 6시(현지시각) 눈사태 여파로 어려움에 빠졌다 는 취지의 교신 내용을 남기고서 연락이 끊겼다.

이에 따라 연맹 측은 현지 셰르파와 한국의 전문구조대원을 실종 추정지역인 안 나푸르나 남벽 출발지점 부근의 베르크슈룬트 지형(빙하 틈)과 인근 눈사태 지점을 그동안 집중적으로 수색해왔다.

그러나 박 대장 일행의 흔적은 발견되지 않았다.