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4 climbers presumed dead in Mt. McKinley avalanche

Kevin Wright / National Parks Service

On the second day of rescue efforts, climbers skirt the edge of the debris field from a June 14, avalanche that may have buried four Japanese climbers on the West Buttress route of Mount McKinley in Alaska in this June 15 photo.

National Park Service

Searchers examine flag belonging to Japanese climbers.

The missing climbers were identified as Yoshiaki Kato, 64; Masako Suda, 50; Michiko Suzuki, 56; and Tamao Suzuki, 63. A fifth climber, Hitoshi Ogi, 69, escaped the avalanche and descended to report the incident. 

All are from Miyagi Prefecture -- the same area devastated by the 2011 quake and tsunami -- and were descending the mountain when the avalanche hit.

If confirmed, the deaths would be the worst accident on McKinley since 1992, when four Canadian climbers died.

-- Reported by msnbc.com's Miguel Llanos

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National Park Service

National Park Rangers search for signs of Japanese climbers.

Kent Miller

The 11,200 foot camp.