BEIJING (AP) -- An Australian tourist and three Tibetans have died in an avalanche on Mount Everest, state media reported Wednesday.
A local tourist agency organized a trip for four tourists to an off-limits area on Sunday evening, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The group of 10, which included three herders who acted as porters, two cooks and a tour guide, encountered an avalanche, and one Australian and the three local herders died, it reported.
The Australian Embassy confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man from southern Australia in Tibet. It said consular officials in Beijing were attempting to contact the man's family to offer assistance.
The Xinhua report said the local government had organized a rescue effort after receiving a distress report, and that following the rescue, the Australian had died as a result of altitude sickness, poor health and age, citing officials in Shigatse, a city in western Tibet.
State broadcaster CCTV said 154 people who had been stranded by the avalanche were rescued Tuesday, 86 at the Everest base camp on the mountain's Chinese side.
Calls to local authorities and the police were either unanswered or officials declined to provide information.
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