French climber dies on Mexico's highest mountain

XALAPA, Mexico, Aug 3, 2010 (AFP) - A 24 year-old French mountain climber died in the hospital after fracturing her skull in a fall while attempting to climb Mount Orizaba, Mexico's highest mountain, state Civil Protection said Tuesday.

Amanda Lochet was rescued after her fall on Saturday, but died later while doctors were operating on her, said Noe Mora, the Civil Protection delegate for the Mexican state of Puebla.

Lochet, who claimed to have climbed mountains in the Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes, was climbing Orizaba with her boyfriend Sebastian Salva Sgio, officials said.

Mora said that Lochet slipped on the ice when the two were exiting a glaciar on Orizaba at a height of between 4,500 and 5,000 meters above sea level.

"We don't know why she could not use her ice axe to brake her fall," said Mora.

The climbers had already climbed past Orizaba's steepest areas and were on their way to the peak, officials said.

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