100 Estonian climbers safe after mudslide in Russia

  • 2000-07-27
TALLINN (BNS) - All of the100 or so climbers and trekkers from Estonia staying in the region of a major mudslide which killed at least eight in the Russian part of the Caucasus mountain range on July 19 have been reported alive and out of danger.

A group of about 60 from the Estonian Youth Trekking Club was in an alpine camp in Baksan valley at the foot of Mount Elbrus at the time of the mudslide, the club's leader Valdek Udris said

Another Estonian group from the Jaan Kunnap Mountain Climbing School comprising of about 50 people was in the same valley, Udris said.

"No Estonian came under direct danger of the mudslide, because all the climbers were out of town at the time of the disaster," Udris said.

Udris said his group would remain in the area for a few more days and would be back in Estonia at the end of July. He said the other group probably had begun their trip back home.

More than 500 people were evacuated, some by helicopter from rooftops, after mudslides swept through the town of Tyrnauz in Russia's Caucausus mountains near the border with Georgia also on July 21, news agencies reported.

"The mudslide that hit the town had immense power. The slide swept away an entire section of a nine-story residential block and the corner of a five-story building," Udris said.