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US climbing instructor dies in ice-bridge break

AN American climbing instructor died and two students were injured when the ice bridge they were crossing on a mountain in Argentina broke, plunging them into a crevasse.

Matthew Lizotte of Aspen, Colorado, 25, died on Sunday while scaling Mount Tronador in Argentina's Nahuel Huapi National Park, Whitney Montgomery, executive director of North Carolina Outward Bound School, said.

Two students, who have not been named, were injured. One suffered a broken arm while the other had multiple fractures and a chest injury. But the student's "condition continues to improve," Montgomery said.

A third student was released without treatment from hospital in San Carlos de Bariloche, a small city nestled in the Andean foothills and the jumping-off point for expeditions into the park.

The students are United States citizens, a US Embassy spokeswoman said.

Larisa Beletzky, a spokeswoman for Nahuel Huapi National Park, said the four climbers, linked by a rope, fell more than 20 meters when an ice bridge near the peak of the mountain suddenly broke.

Other instructors alerted their course director stationed in Bariloche, who then radioed park authorities. A rescue team found Lizotte dead and a helicopter carried the other three students to safety.

Lizotte, an Outward Bound guide since 2006, was one of three highly trained staffers leading a 72-day course in Patagonia with 11 students between the ages of 18 and 23.


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