Bodies of US climbers spotted in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Rescuers hunting for two American mountaineers missing in the Andes since last week said on Monday they had spotted two bodies on a remote pass in the area where the climbers vanished.

"The (two) bodies were spotted from a helicopter at about 6,400 metres on an access route that is not often used" and rarely so by advanced climbers, Argentinian police officer Antonio Ibaceta said.

He said there were no signs of life, citing the searcher who spotted the two on Aconcagua, which soars almost 7,000 metres in the Andes in Argentina's Mendoza province along its border with Chile.

Rescuers however believe the bodies are those of Mr Richard Von Rueden, 22, and Mr Francis Keenan, 28, Mr Ibaceta said.

They had registered as required in the Aconcagua Park's climbers' books before starting their attempt.

Authorities were still trying to determine if the bodies could be recovered, Mr Ibaceta added.

Mountaineers from around the world often attempt the advanced climb during the southern hemisphere's summer months.

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