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    SEARCH FOR MISSING SNOWBOARDERS CONTINUES TO ITS 7TH DAY

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    MOSCOW, February 17, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - In the Kabardino-Balkariya mountains the search for a group of snowboarders who disappeared on Cheget mountain has reached its seventh day.

    "On Monday rescue workers searched the northern and southern slopes of Cheget on the ground and in a helicopter. It has been impossible to find people so far," the Emergency and Disaster Relief Ministry told RIA Novosti.

    The ministry did not give the results of a search using a special detector, which reacts to reflectors stitched into the jacket of one of people who disappeared.

    Four dogs, 150 people and 17 pieces of equipment are participating in the search for the snowboarders.

    On February 10, seven snowboarders from Moscow left Ministry of Defense tourist center in Terskol for the mountains and did not return.

    Although both the northern and southern slopes of Cheget are avalanche-prone and forbidden for touring, the snowboarders may have attempted to go down the southern slope. In the days since the group has been missing, several large avalanches, which may have covered the group, have occurred.

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