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Remains of French climbers found

world Updated: Jul 17, 2007 11:59 IST
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A search team has found the remains of four French climbers who disappeared while climbing illegally on the border of Nepal and Tibet nine months ago, mountaineering officials said on Tuesday.

The search team, sent by families of the dead men, found the remains at the bottom of Ganesh Himal VII, a mountain that straddles the frontier, said Ang Tsering Sherpa, president of the Nepali Mountaineering Association.

"Melting snow revealed their remains at the bottom of the mountain," Sherpa said.

The four men had obtained a permit to climb Mount Paldor, a 5,896 metre (19,457 foot) peak in Nepal, but instead made an unauthorised attempt on the 7,200 metre (23,760) Ganesh Himal VII.

The French-Nepali search team, led by French mountain guide Jean Coudray, found the remains last Wednesday, Sherpa said.

The body parts were buried in a grave, and a small Buddhist monument was built to mark the site, Sherpa said.

Aged between 28 and 36 at the time of their deaths, the four were all experienced climbers and one of the party was a professional mountain guide.

The four, identified as Jean-Baptiste Moreau, Raphael Perrissin, Vincent Villedieu and Stefan Cieslar, were last seen alive on October 16, 2006, and friends raised the alarm after the men failed to make a rendezvous on November 5.

Nepal has eight of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 metres, including the highest, Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres (29,198 feet). Fatalities in the mountains occur every year and can be caused by avalanches, altitude sickness and adverse weather.

One of France's best-known mountaineers, Jean-Christophe Lafaille, disappeared in January 2006 while attempting a solo winter climb without oxygen of Nepal's 8,463-metre (27,972 feet) Mount Makalu.