US Embassy mission member dies in Mexico climbing accident

MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Embassy in Mexico said Tuesday a member of the U.S. diplomatic mission has died after a climbing mishap on Mexico's Pico de Orizaba mountain.

Members of a diplomatic mission can include embassy employees, their families and some support personnel. The embassy did not specify whether or in what rank the climbers were employed, nor did it release their names or hometowns because of privacy concerns.

But the embassy said in a statement that "we are extremely grateful to the Government of Mexico for its prompt assistance in the operation to rescue two U.S. citizen climbers."

Mexican rescue teams using helicopters battled bad weather for two days to rescue the two American climbers, saving one of them.

The civil defense office in the central Mexico state of Puebla said one of the climbers rescued Monday from the 18,619-foot (5,675 meter) Pico de Orizaba and was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Mexico City. It was not clear what his condition was.

A Puebla state official who was not authorized to be quoted by name identified the dead climber as Freddy Cahill, and said he suffered a fall and contusions on the mountain.

In November, another American climber died and seven others were rescued on the mountain, also known as Citlaltepetl.

Authorities previously cited the dangers of an unusually cold winter on the mountain, and the need to let local authorities know climbers' plans before ascending the peak.

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