HONG KONG -- Five climbers, including a noted Hungarian mountaineer, are missing and feared dead after apparently trying to descend from the world's third-highest mountain, Nepalese officials said Friday.
The climbers -- two Hungarians, a South Korean and two Nepalese Sherpas -- may have fallen while at an altitude of 25,900 feet on Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas, Dipendra Poudel, a Nepalese tourism official, told The Associated Press.
One of the climbers, Zsolt Eross, 45, was the first Hungarian to ascend Mount Everest, and had climbed 12 of the world's 14 highest peaks. After a serious climbing accident in 2010, his right leg was amputated below the knee; a year later, he climbed Lhotse, the world's fourth-highest peak, using a prosthetic.
The other climbers were identified as Peter Kiss, 27, a Hungarian; Namsoo Park, 47, of South Korea; Phu Dorjee, 24; and Bibash Gurung, 25.
Kanchenjunga, at 28,169 feet, lies to the east of Mount Everest. Until the mid-19th century it was assumed to be the highest mountain in the world, and it was first scaled in 1955 by the English climbers Joe Brown and George Band.
May is typically prime time for scaling the Himalayan peaks, as weather conditions are considered most hospitable then. On Thursday, an 80-year-old Japanese man, Yuichiro Miura, became the oldest person to reach the peak of Mount Everest.
The five climbers disappeared on Monday and 10 Sherpas were enlisted to search for them. But poor weather was apparently hampering the efforts, with helicopters unable to reach the base camp.
Vincze Szabolcs, a spokesman for the expedition, told the Web site Hungarian Ambiance that there was little hope for the climbers.
"The search and rescue operation is over, the Sherpas did their best and they returned to a safe altitude once again without finding any traces of the climbers," he said. "If Peter and Zsolt stuck at that altitude and spent the night outdoors, they had virtually no chance to survive."
Mr. Eross had climbed 12 of the 14 peaks above 8,000 meters, or 26,247 feet, with his ascent of Kanchenjunga, with only Annapurna and K2 remaining. His wife, Hilda Sterczer, is also a noted climber.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.