6 Climbers Killed by Avalanche in Kyrgyzstan

Six mountaineers — five Czechs and a Russian — trying to conquer one of Kyrgyzstan's (search) highest peaks were swept to their deaths Thursday in an avalanche, a tour operator said.

A sixth Czech climber and a Russian were injured. Two Russians and three Ukrainians were missing.

The dead and injured were among a 50-person group that included 22 Czech climbers moving up the Khan Tengri (search) peak. Two Czech women were among those killed, said Yelena Kalashnikova, a company representative. She said nearly all the survivors had reported back to base camp.

The mountain, whose Kyrgyz name means Lord of Spirits, is 22,998 feet high and the third-highest peak in the country.

Mountains cover more than 90 percent of Kyrgyzstan, which has loosened visa controls and built infrastructure in an attempt to boost tourism.