Two frozen, partially-mummified bodies found on Mexico’s highest peak are believed to be those of two men lost in an expedition 56 years ago, authorities said Friday. Climbers discovered the bodies embedded in the side of 18,491-foot Pico de Orizaba earlier this month.
The Guardianreports that both skeletons are well preserved and wearing scraps of clothing that may aid in the eventual identification of the victims. Heavy fog initially thwarted a rescue team's efforts to bring the bodies down the mountain for forensic testing.
Officials speculate that the bodies may be two mountaineers killed in a 1959 climbing expedition. Three men from the group, including guide Enrique Garcia, disappeared when an avalanche struck the group just 1,000 feet below the summit.
Luis Espinoza, a surviving member of that fatal climb, told a Mexican newspaper that he believes these bodies are indeed those of his climbing partners based on one skeleton's prominent cheekbones, which are said to resemble Garcia's.
Glaciers have been known to preserve bodies for up to thousands of years, with ice and extreme cold preserving skin, clothing, and muscle tissue in a fashion similar to mummification.
Read more: The Guardian