On Sunday, four Mexican climbers were reported dead after a climbing accident occurred on volcano Pico De Orizaba, the nation’s highest peak at 18,619 feet. The civil defense office in the central state of Puebla reports that all four deaths appeared to have been caused by a fall.
Two of the climbers were from the neighboring state of Veracruz and at least one was from Puebla, according to the Associated Press. Pico De Orizaba, also known by its indigenous name Citlaltepetl, stands on the border between those two provinces.
Trágico accidente en el Pico de Orizaba.
Carlos Altamirano, orizabeño de 53 años y experimentado montañista perteneciente a los Guardianes del Cerro del Borrego; José Inés Zepahua, de 63 años, al parecer originario de Río Blanco y Humberto Kenji Muray Yasuda, también de Orizaba… pic.twitter.com/nf1aU2MVSn
— NBC Diario (@NBCDiario) August 21, 2023
Images shared by the office show rescue teams attempting to recover the bodies of the four climbers down from a loose, rocky apron below an even steeper slope above the snow line, the AP reports. Mexican news station NBC Diario reports that the victims were Carlos Altamirano, a 53-year-old from Orizaba and an experienced mountaineer belonging to the Guardians of Cerro del Borrego; José Inés Zepahua, 63, apparently originally from Río Blanco and Humberto Kenji Muray Yasuda, also from Orizaba and of Japanese descent.
Pico De Orizaba is infamous for climbing-related accidents and deaths. In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico said a member of the U.S. diplomatic mission died while climbing the peak. In November 2017, an American climber died and seven others were rescued from the volcano and, in 2015, the AP reports that at least three mummified bodies of climbers lost in a 1959 avalanche were discovered in the mountain’s snowfields.