Rescue operation suspended for top Pakistani climber, two other mountaineers missing on K2

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Feb 7 (PTI) Pakistan Army helicopters on Sunday suspended the search and rescue operations after failing to trace three climbers, including renowned Pakistani mountaineer Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who went missing two days ago on K2, the world's second highest mountain.

Sadpara and two other climbers, John Snorri from Iceland and Juan Pablo from Chile, were trying to summit the 8,611-metre (28,250-foot) high K2 mountain, sometimes referred to as 'Savage Mountain' when they went missing on Friday night, according to officials.

Two army helicopters flew for the second day to their maximum limit of 7,800 metres and conducted aerial reconnaissance for an hour to locate the missing climbers but without any success.

“Pray for Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, John Snorri from Iceland and Juan Pablo from Chile who are still missing on the K2 expedition,” Karar Haidri, a top official with the Alpine Club of Pakistan said.

Meanwhile, Sadpara's son Sajid, who returned from K2 when his oxygen kit malfunctioned, has reached Skardu, local Deputy Commissioner Karim Dad Ghughtai told media.

Sajid also talked to media and said the chances of surviving in the extremely cold weather after remaining missing for three days were 'very low'. However, he said that an operation could be conducted to retrieve the bodies.

Sadpara is a famous Pakistani mountaineer and has proudly hoisted the country's flag on eight peaks. He was also part of the team which achieved the first-ever winter summit on Nanga Parbat, the killer mountain, in 2016.

Earlier, a Bulgarian mountaineer Atanas Skatov, 42, fell to his death on Friday during another expedition on K2, Haidri said, adding that he fell when his rope snapped.

Skatov is the second climber to die on K2's slopes this season after a Spanish mountaineer fell to his death last month. A third climber — Russian-American Alex Goldfarb — also died on a nearby mountain during an acclimatising mission ahead of a bid to scale Broad Peak in January.

K2, located in the Karakorum mountain range, is considered as most difficult to climb in winter and for the first time a team of Nepalese climbers summited it last month in winter.

The difficulty is due to icy winds that blow at more than 200 kilometres per hour when the temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius. PTI SH PMS PMS