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Three Bodies Believed to Have Been Spotted on Mount Rainier

The site is too dangerous for search crews to reach to determine whether the figures were among a team of six climbers who disappeared in May.

Three human bodies may have been spotted on snow-capped Mount Rainier, Washington, near a dangerous trail where six climbers, including Intel Corp. Vice President Uday Marty, disappeared in May, the park told NBC News on Tuesday.

Last week, a helicopter crew spotted the suspected bodies at the head of the Carbon Glacier below the 3,000-foot Willis Wall, which is shedding rock and ice directly on the top of the glacier, said Patti Wold, a spokeswoman for Mount Rainier National Park. Officials have been trying to figure out how to safely get search crews to the route the climbers were taking when contact with them was lost May 28.

The climbers were trying to conquer Liberty Ridge, a dangerous climb on the mountain's north face that is regularly bombarded with ice falling from glaciers. Because of the warm summer weather, "ice is no longer holding things solid," Wold said, so the ridge has been closed to all climbers — including search crews for now. "It's one of the most dangerous areas to put someone into the park," she said, adding that until personnel can reach the site safely, there's no way to confirm that the suspected bodies are from the team of two guides and four recreational climbers.

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— M. Alex Johnson