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Fatal Accident on Mount Kilimanjaro

Park officials confirm American climbers killed
By GreatOutdoors Staff - January 6th, 2006

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Park officials confirm American climbers killed on Kilimanjaro: Reports Thursday from park officials at Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro confirm that three climbers from the United States were killed by a rare rockfall event high on the mountain. The climbers were asleep in their tent before an alpine start for the summit of Africa's highest peak when boulders rained down on their camp. The climbers died when large rocks crushed the tent where they were sleeping Wednesday.

The dead were identified as Kristian Ferguson, 27, of Longmont, Colo.; Mary Lou Sammis, 58, of Huntington, N.Y., and Betty Orrik Sapp, 63, of Melrose, Mass.

More than 50 climbers were evacuated from the climbing route and campsite near Arrow Glacier at about 4,800 metres (15,800ft). Park official speculate that global warming, which has caused significant melting to Kilimanjaro's glaciers, might have loosened the rocks, which triggered the rockfall.


Preliminary reports indicate that rockfall or avalanche on Kilimanjaro's Arrow glacier has taken the lives of at least four North American climbers and possibly local guides as well, according to climbers and guides on the scene in Tanzania. The party involved in the accident was said to have left late in the day, rather than early in the morning, as is the norm on Africa's highest peak. More details will be posted as they become available.

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