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    NO MORE SEARCH FOR CAUCASIAN GLACIER VICTIMS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 10 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Desperate relations of 2002 glacier victims are giving up search for the remains. Their near and dear disappeared in fall 2002 as the Kolka glacier slid down in the Karmadon Gorge, North Ossetia - one of Russia's North Caucasian autonomies.

    "Even if we find the money and machines, it is too dangerous to drill on, so we are leaving," Vladimir Trifonov, one of the bereaved, said to Novosti over the telephone.

    Several of the search party came down to the ice-packed Karmadon tunnel, February 2, as a hole, 69 meters long, was drilled through the glacier and rock after many months' dogged quest. The men who penetrated the tunnel made their way through two thirds of its total length, but found no bodies and no traces of human presence. The lowest tunnel part, about a hundred meters long, is packed tight with sand that slid in after the fatal ice. It takes several thousand cubic meters of sand removed to come at evidence of human presence - or absence, as the case may be - in the tunnel, so the party got together, and determined to quit, says our informant.

    Some people are staying in the Nadezhda camp the bereaved pitched on the glacier after the tragedy. They will dismount and remove machinery provided by sponsors, added Vladimir Trifonov.

    The giant Kolka glacier slid down, September 20, 2002. Twenty bodies were recovered, another hundred are missing, among them a film crew led by Sergei Bodrov, Jr., celebrated Russian actor and sensational film director.

    Government-sponsored search was given up last June. Bereaved relations stayed on for unaided search. All the eighteen months of toil did not bring even the slightest finds.

    Experts think the Kolka may thaw in a matter of five to seven years.

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