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SUMMIT SEEKERS PRESS ON DESPITE DEATHS ON EVEREST

Trudging on despite disaster, at least four teams clambered up the icy face of Mount Everest Thursday, past the frozen corpses of mountaineers who succumbed to a sudden blizzard days earlier.

An Indian expedition that lost three climbers in the storm expected to reach the summit of the world's highest peak on Friday from the northern face, the Chinese side of the mountain that straddles the border with Nepal.Expeditions from Norway, Britain and Japan also were pushing ahead on the northern side, said Captain M.S. Kohli, a mountaineering expert of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, who is in touch with the northern base camp.

Two Americans, two New Zealanders and a Japanese woman died of exposure when they were caught in a blinding snowstorm that lashed the top of Everest with 80mph winds. A ninth person was killed a few days earlier when he slipped down an 80-foot precipice.

A 10th possible victim - a climber from a Spanish expedition - is missing, Kohli said. Reports from Katmandu said a body was sighted from a helicopter, but it was not confirmed that the corpse was that of the Spanish climber.

The man reportedly has been missing for three or four days, but the circumstances of his disappearance are unknown.

On the southern side of Everest, Nepalese commercial helicopters ferried back survivors from other teams that tackled the peak from that side.

Eighteen members of a team from the former Yugoslavia arrived in Katmandu after turning back just 300 feet short of the summit.