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25 people stranded in Tibet snowstorm
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A snowstorm in Tibet Autonomous Region trapped 25 people on Sunday, while 72 others were evacuated, officials said.

The 25 people in five vehicles were stranded on a highway in Zanda County, Ngari Prefecture, in dangerous conditions, according Hong Xufeng, a prefecture official. A rescue team, equipped with food and medicine, was moving toward them, he told Xinhua.

Snow began hitting the area on Friday with the maximum depth exceeding 30 centimeters. Traffic on the Ngari section of the mountainous highway linking Xinjiang and Tibet has been blocked since that day.

By Sunday noon, local police and government staff had rescued 72 stranded persons.

Rescuers found five people in two vehicles on Saturday night suffering altitude sickness symptoms after being trapped more than seven hours, said spokesman Kang Jinai. It took rescuers four hours to evacuate them to nearby Shiquanhe town.

An 11-member rescue team who became stranded themselves by the heavy snow on Friday were evacuated to safety on Sunday afternoon.

Ngari Prefecture, with an average height of 4,500 meters above sea level, is very sensitive to climate change because of its high altitude on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2008)


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