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2 climbers missing on Mount St. Helens

COUGAR — Searchers are looking for two Vancouver, Wash., men who failed to return from a climb on Mount St. Helens.

Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox said a deputy found their car early Wednesday at the Marble Mountain Snow Park about 10 miles northeast of Cougar.

Undersheriff Cox said the men, Mark Lapinskas, 32, and Kevin Dean, 34, both have packs, but probably aren’t prepared for the deluge of rain hitting the area.

Lisa Dean reported her husband and brother-in-law overdue Tuesday night.

Volunteers from the North Country Volcano Rescue Team from Yacolt have started searching trails on the south side of the volcano.

WEST VIRGINIA

Gas aborts first visit to mine

CHARLESTON — Dangerous gases have turned back investigators venturing for the first time into a West Virginia mine where an April explosion killed 29.

Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere said two teams got about 1,000 feet into Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine Wednesday morning. They left after about an hour because hand-held meters registered potentially elevated levels of carbon monoxide and methane gas.

West Virginia spokeswoman Leslie Fitzwater said the teams hope to try again after checking their instruments.

No one had entered the mine since rescuers removed the final victims in April. Investigators are eager to search for the cause of the April 5 explosion — the nation’s worst coal mining disaster in 40 years.

WYOMING

Nine injured in lightning strike

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — A lightning strike in Yellowstone National Park injured nine people waiting to see Old Faithful geyser erupt.

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