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Six feared dead after avalanche in US park

SIX climbers are believed to have died in a fall in a United States national park.

Helicopters detected pings from avalanche beacons and spotted climbing gear thousands of feet below the group's last known location in Washington state.

Mount Rainier National Park spokeswoman Patricia Wold said searchers believe the group fell 3,300ft from their last known whereabouts at 12,800ft on Wednesday.

Air and ground searches were suspended late on Saturday afternoon and no recovery plans are in place because of the danger of falling rock and ice.

The missing group includes four clients of Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International and two guides. They were due to return from the mountain on Friday.

The climbers appear to have fallen or got caught in an avalanche of snow, rock and other debris. The party set off last Monday for a five-day ascent along the north face of the glacier-streaked Mount Rainier mountain.

They were last heard from via satellite phone on Wed-nesday evening.

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