The rescue operation to find three climbers, including Muhammad Ali Sadpara of Pakistan, who went missing while attempting to climb the second-highest mountain in the world, K2, continued on Sunday for the second day.
Sadpara, Iceland’s John Snorri and Chile’s MP Mohr have not been contacted after the three, according to their staff, started their drive for the K2 summit from camp 3 at midnight between Thursday and Friday.
Several experts are part of the rescue mission, including four local high altitude climbers, Shimshal’s Fazal Ali and Jalal, Skardu’s Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali, Chhang Dawa Sherpa and other members of the SST winter expedition team.
Dawn was informed by an official of the expedition team that rescue teams were looking for the missing climbers by following the helicopter path they had taken to the summit. The quest will continue, he said, until all three are found.
Another expedition official said that the search teams had been working hard to locate the mountaineers.
Another round of search at the top will commence with the rescue team. Earlier, helicopters returned from the peak to refuel in the region of Paju. The team took pictures during the aerial search.
The search began with aerial reconnaissance on Saturday, but, according to Chhang Dawa Sherpa, the helicopters returned after deteriorating weather conditions made the search harder to proceed.
“The base camp received no signals from Sadpara and his foreign companions after 8,000 metres […] A search is on and let’s pray for their safe return home,” Karrar Haideri, a senior official with Pakistan’s Alpine Club, told The Associated Press.
Choppers soared to a height of 7,000 metres on Saturday to attempt to find the lost mountaineers without luck.
The news of the missing men comes a day after it was reported that a Bulgarian mountaineer died on K2.
18 members of one of the expedition teams chose to abandon their attempt at the time the three started their summit attempt and spend the night at camp 3, opting instead to descend on Friday morning.
Earlier, it was announced that the three climbers had managed to scale the K2 summit, prompting government leaders, including the Governor and Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, to congratulate them. In this respect, though, no official comment has been issued and it is reportedly unknown whether or not they managed to hit the peak on Friday.
Speaking to Dawn, an expedition team member said the only confirmed news was that the climbers had passed the bottleneck, causing everyone to believe that the summit had been reached.
A statement was released by the foreign ministry reporting that Iceland’s foreign minister, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, spoke by telephone to Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Qureshi told him that no effort would be spared by Pakistan in the search for the missing mountaineers.
Haideri noted the experience of Sadpara as a mountaineer who scaled the eight highest mountains in the world, including the highest one, Mount Everest, and attempted to climb K2 in winter.
On the Pakistani side of the Himalayan range, K2 is the most prominent peak and the world’s second tallest after Mount Everest. At more than 200 kph, winter winds on K2 will blast and temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius.
On January 16, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers made history by climbing K2 in the winter for the first time.