January 5, 2006

Falling rocks kill 3 American climbers on Mt. Kilimanjaro

MT. KILIMANJARO, Tanzania (Reuters) - Three American
tourists were killed when rocks tumbled down Mount Kilimanjaro
and smashed into climbers preparing to scale the peak of
Africa's highest mountain, officials said on Thursday.

Five others, three Americans and two Tanzanians, were
injured in the rock slide close to Arrow Glacier base camp on
Wednesday, said James Wakibara, chief warden at Mount
Kilimanjaro Park.

The camp, at an altitude of some 4,700 meters (15,500 ft),
lies on one of the mountain's most arduous routes.

"Above that particular altitude on the mountain, there was
a massive fall of rocks that went straight into the people who
were climbing," Wakibara said.

Two of the injured had been airlifted to Nairobi in Kenya
for treatment, while the others were being treated at
Kilimanjaro Hospital.

One body had been brought down while workers were still
trying to carry the others off of the mountain, he said.

U.S. embassy officials were unable to confirm the

Rising to 5,895 meters (19,430 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro, in
northern Tanzania along the Kenyan border, has three peaks --
Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi.

Every year, more than 20,000 trekkers set out to reach the
"roof of Africa," attracted by the lure of the world's largest

U.S. scientists have predicted that Mount Kilimanjaro's
glaciers are melting so fast they will be disappear in less
than 20 years. It is thought that the shrinking glaciers have
loosened rocks they once held in place.

(Additional reporting by Ally Saleh in Dar es Salaam)