Six teenage boys went missing after an avalanche on a remote mountain slope in the east Siberian republic of Tyva, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Sunday.
One survived the accident near the village of Mugur-Aksy close to the Mongolian border, some 5,000 kilometers southeast of Moscow, and alerted rescue teams.
Children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said the teenagers, aged 14 to 18, were climbing the mountain to leave small flags there, something believed to bring happiness, according to a local popular legend.
"The tragedy happened because of the reckless venture undertaken by the boys," he wrote on his Twitter page @RFdeti. "Now we are trying to find out where their parents are." Dozens of rescue workers and a helicopter were searching for the missing boys, the ministry said.