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2 Die After Fall in Swiss Alps

September 18, 2000

GRINDELWALD, Switzerland (AP) _ A New Zealander and a Briton were killed in a fall while they were trying to climb the forbidding North Face of the 13,024-foot Eiger in the Swiss Alps.

Bern cantonal police also confirmed that a crew from a British television crew captured the fall on video. Police said the camera crew gave them a copy of their tape.

Police refused to identify the victims. But British news reports identified them as Matthew Hayes, 31, of Hampshire and New Zealand-born Phillip O’Sullivan, 26, a resident of West Sussex, England.

The accident occurred Tuesday on the lower part of the mountain’s Second Icefield. The upper climber lost his grip and pulled the second, who was tied to him by a rope, after him, the SonntagsBlick newspaper said.

The two men fell nearly 2,000 feet. The bodies were recovered Wednesday, police said.

The North Face, a daunting 5,905-foot wall of crumbling limestone dubbed ``The Ogre″ by climbers, is considered Europe’s greatest challenge to mountaineers. More than 700 people have climbed the North Face since the first successful ascent in 1938, but 50 others have been killed.