Climbers of Mexico’s highest peak made a startling discovery – two mummies, decaying and frozen, one with its head sticking up out of the snow. The mountaineers found one of the mummified bodies – with only its head and a hand protruding from the ice – near Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba’s summit. They reported the find, and Mexican search and rescue officials who returned located another body in an apparent embrace. Officials believe they may be a pair of climbers from a Mexican expedition who disappeared 56 years ago.
Writes the Times of India: “Two mummified bodies found on Mexico’s highest peak appear to be embracing each other and are believed to be climbers who vanished after an avalanche in 1959, officials said. A mission to recover the bodies from the Pico de Orizaba was suspended until next Monday in order to build a special container to bring the remains intact, one of the rescue workers said Friday.”
The original skull was found on the nearly 18,500 foot stratovolcano in Puebla, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America. The returning Mexican search party found the second corpse, after clearing away some of the ice and snow, lower down and partially wrapped around the mummified body.
Francisco Rodriguez was one of the mountaineers who found the first body. “Their position surprised us because they are apparently in an embrace. The arm of one of them is on the body of the other,” Rodriguez said.
Since the discovery was made public, Mexican officials said they have been receiving numerous calls from individuals in Mexico, Spain and Germany who are looking for the remains of their long-lost loved ones who may have been killed on the mountain. Identities cannot be confirmed until the bodies are removed, and officials said a special stretcher is being built that will allow the mummies to be brought down the mountain intact.
Seventy-year-old accomplished climber Luis Espinoza Ruiz believes he knows who the men are. On November 2, 1959, Ruiz and a number of other alpinists set out to make a summit attempt from their base camp. Around midday, Ruiz says the teams split up, and he heard “a big noise and two weeks’ worth of snow collapsed.”
After searching for decades, Ruiz believes the bodies are his fallen comrades. “I have hope. I’m almost certain that it’s them.”
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After the bodies of the climbers extricated from the ice, the pair of mummies will be taken to Mexico’s Puebla state medical examiner’s office for DNA testing.