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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

One Found Alive in Avalanche Search

APWomen waiting for information Monday about missing relatives near a police cordon in Gizel, a village near the disaster site.
VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia -- One man reported missing after a devastating avalanche in North Ossetia was found unhurt Monday, but more than 100 people were unaccounted for and authorities fear the list may grow as information comes in on shepherds and others who could have been in the path of the torrent of ice, mud and debris.

Two bodies were found Monday, a duty officer at the headquarters for the rescue effort said, bringing the total to eight. Emergency officials have said they fear that as many as 150 people were killed, and they held out little hope of finding anyone who was swept up by the avalanche alive.

"I haven't lost hope, but when I saw from a helicopter what had happened, the conclusions are not comforting," said Lev Dzugayev, a top aide to the president of North Ossetia.

According to a list compiled from inquiries from relatives, 113 people are missing, said Alan Doyev, a press spokesman for the Interior Ministry in North Ossetia. The list could grow, Doyev said, as information comes in on shepherds and watchmen at remote tourist camps high in the mountains.

One watchman was found unhurt near the mineral lode where he works, said Boris Dzgoyev, the head of North Ossetia's emergency situations department.

Officials feared hikers and campers may also have been in the area, a destination for excursions among residents of the regional capital Vladikavkaz.

Rescue workers continued efforts to clear the main road up the mountain under treacherous conditions. In 2 1/2 days, the workers have managed to clear just 1.5 kilometers of the road, which is covered with ice, sludge, trees and rocks.

Dzugayev said the damage could reach 400 million rubles ($12.6 million), Itar-Tass reported.

New dangers emerged as the temperatures mounted and were expected to reach 26 degrees Celsius. The snow is melting quickly and the situation could deteriorate were rain to fall, officials said. The water level was expected to rise sharply in some places, including two lakes being formed by the melting ice, and several villages were threatened by flooding, Itar-Tass said.

Police cars jammed the highway Monday at Gizel, the village near the site where the glacier stopped its slide, and relatives and friends of the missing gathered in small groups, desperate for news.

"We're standing here for the third day, we don't know anything," said Batrazd Agayev, who was waiting for news of a friend who had gone into the mountains. "Bureaucrats pass by in motorcades. We tried to stop them to learn the truth and they almost ran us over."

Authorities said the six bodies that rescuers found Saturday and Sunday were mangled. Forensic experts managed to identify only one, a 77-year-old watchman whose corpse was found in the river the avalanche followed.

The avalanche slid 33 kilometers -- mostly ice at higher elevations and a mix of icy mud and debris lower down -- before it stopped on the Gizel-Karmadon highway about 10 kilometers from Vladikavkaz.