At least 12 climbers killed in avalanches in Iran's Alborz mountains

Death toll climbs by two but another 14 missing climbers are found alive after wild weather across the region

Twelve climbers have died after a blizzard triggered avalanches in mountains north of Iran’s capital, Tehran.

Ten climbers were declared dead on Saturday after heavy storms hit the Alborz mountains north of the capital, and rescue teams located one more body on Sunday, while another died after being airlifted to hispital.

Another 14 missing people were found alive and rescuers believe they have recovered everyone reported lost.

Reza Zarei, head of Iran’s mountaineering federation, told state TV: “The rescue operation has now been completed, and all the missing persons have been found.”

A member of the Red Crescent team said the rescue mission had been complicated by bad weather and snow.

Map of incident area

State television broadcast footage of a helicopter rescue operation on the Tochal and Kolakchal peaks of the Alborz mountain chain overlooking Tehran. It showed Red Crescent personnel carrying a body on a stretcher along a snowy mountainside.

Tehran lies at the foot of the Alborz mountain range, which has several ski resorts and a highest peak of 5,671m (18,606ft).

Heavy snow and winds have caused chaos in several parts of Iran, and maritime authorities were searching for the six Iranian and one Indian crew members of an Iranian transport vessel that capsized in rough Gulf waters on Friday, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

“Seven groups of four people are searching ... but due to unfavourable weather conditions, it is not possible to search by air now,” Esmail Makkizadeh, deputy head of Iran‘s regional maritime body, was quoted as saying by IRIB’s website.

Guardian staff and agencies

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