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Copter Rescues Everest Climbers

Two Americans, two Canadians and a Sherpa climber were evacuated from Mount Everest (search) Saturday, two days after they were hit by an avalanche on the world's highest peak and then stranded because of treacherous weather.

Snow and high winds abated sufficiently for a rescue helicopter to land at the base camp, where it picked up American climbers James Bach and Jason Barilla and Canadians Jowan Gauthier and Pierre Bourdeau. They were brought to Katmandu and hospitalized for treatment of injuries.

"I don't know how I survived," said Bourdeau, who was carried about 100 yards from his tent. "I thought I was dead," he said.

No one was killed early Thursday when the avalanche swept through the first of four camps between the base and the mountain's 29,035-foot summit. The Nepalese Sherpa (search) suffered a broken back and the four other climbers were at the least badly bruised.

Twenty-three expeditions have been attempting to scale Everest this spring amid treacherous conditions.

Michael O'Brien, 39, of Seattle, fell to his death Sunday as he and his brother Chris, 32, were returning to base camp and were crossing the Khumbu Icefall, a dreaded section of the route that has claimed the lives of many climbers.

Canadian Sean Egan, 63, died April 29 after an apparent heart attack on Everest.

Since New Zealander Edmund Hil (search)lary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay (search) first conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, more than 1,400 people have scaled the mountain. About 180 have died on its unpredictable slopes.