Islamabad: Hopes are fading for three mountaineers who went missing on the world’s second highest mountain K2 in Pakistan as the search operation continues for the third day on Monday.
Pakistan’s celebrated mountaineer Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his fellow climbers, John Snorri of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile, were last in contact with base camp on Friday as they pushed winter summit of the 8,611-metres (28,250ft) high K2 mountain.
Two days of helicopters searches have failed to locate the three climbers, leaving their families and the people of Pakistan heartbroken as they desperately prayed for their safety.
Survival chances bleak
Sajid Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara, who had last seen his father at K2’s treacherous ‘bottleneck’ at around 8300m said the chances of survival were bleak as it is difficult to survive for so long above 8,000m.
Sajid was also part of the winter expedition but turned back on Friday morning after facing trouble with his oxygen system. Sajid believes that Ali Sadpara and team may have summited the K2 and “met an accident on the way back”.
Karrar Haideri, Alpine Club of Pakistan official, said that there was little chance for survival now. “Bad weather and extremely poor visibility on the third day was hampering rescue efforts” Haideri told Gulf News. Pakistan Army, Gilgit-Baltistan administration as well as local and international high altitude climbers are part of the rescue mission.
Helicopters pushed to the limit, enduring high winds and low temperatures, as they made a search flight above 7,800m to locate the climbers but could not find any clues. “We had less visibility and the upper mountain is covered in clouds” Chhang Dawa Sherpa, who is part of one search team trying to trace the mountaineers, shared on Twitter. Last week, a Bulgarian mountaineer, Atanas Skatov, fell to his death during the K2 expedition.
Last month, a team of 10 climbers from Nepal became the first ever to summit K2 in winter. Nirmal Purja, who was part of the Nepal team, said Sadpara was like a brother to him. “I feel a bit heavy-hearted while writing this note as we have shared some great stories and memories” he shared on social media.
“Ali is closest to my heart, who has always been a big brother to me. We have shared some mountains stories together. He always treated me as his younger brother and sometimes shared his words of wisdom and experiences. I cherish all the memories that we shared. It’s hard hitting but I know how skilled, capable and strong of a climber you are my brother!”