• Kyodo

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Two Japanese climbers were killed by an avalanche Sunday as they were climbing Annapurna One in the Himalayas in Nepal, according to a mountaineering group in Aichi Prefecture.

The Aichi Mountaineering Association identified the two climbers as Hideji Nazuka, 49, and Michio Sato, 43.

Sato was leading a team up the 8,091-meter peak.

If they had succeeded, Nazuka, a veteran mountaineer with more than 20 years of experience, would have become the first Japanese to scale 10 of the world’s 14 highest peaks.

Nazuka and Noboru Yamada, who died on Alaska’s Mount McKinley in 1989 at age 39, both had scaled nine of the 14 mountains, which all stand above 8,000 meters.

Sato and Nazuka were together with another climber, Toshio Yamamoto, 30, at the 6,200-meter level at around 11 a.m. Sunday when the avalanche struck. Their bodies were recovered the same day, the association said.

Yamamoto identified the bodies, according to the association.

A fourth member of the team, Hideki Nishimura, 32, remained at the base camp at 4,900 meters and told the association by satellite phone that the other members had been hit by the avalanche.

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