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Rangers rescue U.S. Army team on Colorado peak after troubled climbing mission

By Doug G. Ware
Rangers rescue U.S. Army team on Colorado peak after troubled climbing mission
Park rangers in Colorado on Friday rescued 10 members of a U.S. Army group that had gotten stranded on the 14,000-foot tall Longs Peak while participating in climbing training Thursday. Two members of the group had suffered from altitude sickness, officials said. Photo courtesy of National Park Service

GRAND LAKE, Colo., June 3 (UPI) -- Search teams rushed to one of Colorado's tallest peaks Friday to rescue a group of 10 U.S. Army personnel who became stranded on the mountain overnight.

The group, from Fort Carson 150 miles to the south, were on Longs Peak Thursday for climbing training. They did not plan to spend the night there, but did so when they encountered trouble.

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"A few members reported having some degree of distress and were having difficulty continuing up the route," Rocky Mountain National Park said in a statement. "The group was not planning to overnight in the area."

Rangers in the park aided in locating the missing personnel and devised a helicopter-based rescue plan, officials said.

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Friday afternoon, officials said all 10 persons were evacuated safely. None were injured.

Officials said two in the party had gotten altitude sickness -- a condition where the body struggles to adjust to thinner air, with less oxygen, in higher elevations. One of the people on the mountain was a medic who treated the two ill climbers until help arrived.

At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest mountain in the park and the 28th-highest peak in the United States.

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The ordeal is the fourth accident involving U.S. troops within a 24-hour period.

An Air Force pilot ejected safely from an F-16 Thursday after performing a flyover at the academy's graduation ceremony, about 150 miles southeast of Longs Peak.

A Navy pilot was killed hours later in Tennessee when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed after takeoff, and at least five soldiers drowned at Fort Hood in Texas, amid fast-moving floodwaters.

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