At least 10 climbers killed in avalanches in Iran's Alborz mountains

( Guardian )

At least 10 climbers have died and several more are missing after a blizzard triggered avalanches in mountains north of Iran’s capital, Tehran, state media reported on Saturday.

Several climbers have remained unaccounted for since Friday, when two deaths were reported, while the number reported as missing has increased as concerned families contact authorities, state television said.

Nine people died on the mountain and one died in hospital after being rescued, Mehdi Valipour, head of emergency operations at Iran’s Red Crescent, was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

At least seven climbers were still unaccounted for on three popular trails, Valipour said earlier.

The search was abandoned as night fell on Saturday but will be resumed on Sunday morning.

A member of the Red Crescent team said the rescue mission was complicated by bad weather and snow.

State television broadcast footage of a helicopter rescue operation on the Tochal and Kolakchal peaks of the Alborz mountain chain overlooking Tehran. It showed Red Crescent personnel carrying a body on a stretcher along a snowy mountainside.

Tehran lies at the foot of the Alborz mountain range, which has several ski resorts and a highest peak of 5,671m (18,606ft).

Heavy snow and winds have caused chaos in several parts of Iran, and maritime authorities were searching for the seven crew members of an Iranian transport vessel that capsized in rough Gulf waters on Friday, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

“We are trying to find the missing by mobilising all our facilities and forces, and informing passing vessels and the naval search and rescue centres of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan,” Esmail Makkizadeh, deputy head of Iran’s regional maritime body, was quoted as saying by ISNA.

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