Ukrainians rescued after five days stuck in Alps

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Rescuers airlifted three Ukrainian mountaineers alive from the snowy slopes of France's Mont-Blanc range after they were stuck there for five days, police said.

The three were stranded at 4,300 metres (14,000 feet) in temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit). They had set out on Wednesday, and at least one of them was an experienced mountaineer.

"They dug a hole and built a wall of snow to shelter their tent from the wind," said local police captain Benoit Tonnany.

The temperatures "could have been worse," he added. "It can easily reach minus 30 (Celsius) at that altitude."

Another official said the mountaineers were in good health when rescued and "weren't even taken to hospital". When rescued they had packed their bags and were about to climb down by themselves.

© 2011 AFP

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