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Italian rescuers search for two missing on Mont Blanc

Rescuers continued their search on Saturday for two climbers -- a 15-year-old French boy and his 52-year-old Italian guide -- missing on Mont Blanc since Wednesday.

ROME: Rescuers continued their search on Saturday for two climbers -- a 15-year-old French boy and his 52-year-old Italian guide -- missing on Mont Blanc since Wednesday.

A helicopter dropped off a group of rescuers and guides to search the area on foot after previous searches from the air proved fruitless, the ANSA news agency reported.

The guide, Ferdinando Rollando, is an experienced mountaineer who has also worked in Afghanistan, teaching skiing and anti-avalanche prevention measures to Afghans.

The boy was named by ANSA as Jassim Mazouni from Paris. His father, Halim Mazouni, is following search and rescue operations from the French side of the mountain.

The two were reportedly seen walking on a glacier leading to the summit after leaving the Gonella Refuge at an altitude of 3,071 metres early on Wednesday.

A search operation was launched on Thursday after the boy's father alerted authorities saying he hadn't been in touch since the pair left the camp, ANSA reported.

The search was suspended several times because of poor weather in the area, including heavy snowfall.

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in western Europe at 4,810 metres.

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