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Avalanche on Mt. Everest Leaves 4 Dead, Dozens Rescued

Oct 16, 2013 04:18 PM EDT

Four people died this week in a restricted region of Mt. Everest after an avalanche came down the mountain.

Sunday, a group of 10 people -- consisting of four Australian tourists and six Tibetan guides -- made camp without seeking the required permission at the base of the mountain, China's state-run news agency Xinhua said Wednesday.

An avalanche hit the group in the night as they slept Sunday.

Three Tibetans who acted as the group's porters were killed, as was a 60-year-old Australian man. Others in the group appear to have survived.

The illicit tour group was reportedly organized by the Tibet Longda International Travel Agency; they entered a restricted area on the mountain without permission and camped overnight, according to Xinhua, which cited sources with the government of Dingri county in Xigaze prefecture in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

A rescue crew was sent to the base of the mountain early Monday, where they evacuated 86 tourists from a base camp on the Chinese side of the mountain and from a nearby monastery which had become inundated with snow. Another 70 people were reportedly rescued after being stranded elsewhere by the avalanche.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the 60-year-old Australian died after being rescued from the avalanche. The Herald said the man "died as a result of altitude sickness, poor health and age."

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