Pakistan Army helicopters embarked on a “search flight” on Saturday but returned to Skardu after they were unable to locate three climbers, including Pakistan’s Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who went missing while attempting to summit the world’s second-highest mountain, K2.
Sadpara, John Snorri from Iceland and MP Mohr from Chile have not been contacted since the three began their push for the K2 summit from camp 3 at midnight between Thursday and Friday, according to their team.
News of the missing men comes a day after a Bulgarian mountaineer was confirmed to have died on K2.
At the time the three began their summit attempt, 18 members of one of the expedition teams decided to abandon their attempt and spent the night at camp 3, choosing instead to descend on Friday morning.
According to the Alpine Club, two Pakistan Army helicopters started a search and rescue mission on Saturday at 11am to locate the three missing climbers who have not been contacted for over 30 hours.
Chhang Dawa Sherpa, the team leader of the SST winter expedition team, said that the army’s helicopter made “a search flight almost up to 7000m and returned back to Skardu”.
“Unfortunately, they can’t trace anything,” he shared.
“The condition up in the mountain and even at the base camp is getting poor. We are looking for further progress, but the weather and winds are not permissible,” he wrote.
Earlier, it was reported that the three climbers had managed to summit K2, prompting congratulations from government officials, including the Gilgit-Baltistan governor and chief minister. However, no official statement has been released in this regard and it is currently unclear whether they managed to summit the peak on Friday or not.
Speaking to Dawn, an official from the expedition team said the only verified news was that the climbers had crossed the bottleneck which led many to assume that they had reached the summit.
Meanwhile, Sadpara’s son, Sajid Sadpara, who was also part of the expedition, reached the K2 base camp after waiting for the three climbers at camp 3 for over 20 hours. Sajid was with the three up until the bottleneck, the most dangerous area of the mountain, and had returned to camp 3 after facing issues with his oxygen regulator.
At 12:00am on Friday, around the time they began their ascent to the peak, Snorri’s official Facebook page shared the update that the climbers were unable to rest over the day as “three other climbers needed shelter in their tent so there were a total of six people in the small tent”.
“The climbing went well. They were feeling a little sick but are okay now,” the post said.
“The GPS track is unclear going back and forth. I believe it is just some misreading from the [satellite] signal or low battery. We need to keep our faith and believe they will succeed.”
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