4 Feared Dead After Mount McKinley Avalanche

(NECN/NBC News: Veronica De La Cruz) In Alaska, hopes are fading for finding four climber who were swept away by an avalanche on America's tallest peak.  

In the early hours of Thursday morning on Mount Mckinley's most popular trail, five climbers visiting from Japan tethered together by a single rope, just below 12,000 feet, when they were swept downhill by an avalanche.  

When the ground settled, only one climber was alive, saved when the part of the rope he was holding broke loose, swinging him into a crevasse.   

A photo released from the National Park Service shows the aftermath of the massive slide (see attached video to view).   

What looks like a tiny trench is actually a 60-foot-deep area where a 69-year-old man was protected. 

When he emerged, he couldn't find his friends and had to make a 14-hour climb down another 4,000 feet by himself to summon help.  

The national parks service is presuming the four others are dead, even as more than 400 rescuers battle snow and wind to try and find their bodies. The only sign of them so far... is a lone red flag.  

This story, for many, serves as a reminder that the lure of nature can come with a price.
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