Ali Sadpara, John Snorri and Juan Pablo still missing, confirm officials in Skardu
GILGIT: The second-day of Pakistan Army’s rescue operation ended with no sign of missing climbers including renowned Pakistani mountaineer Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who had gone missing while attempting a winter summit of K2 on Friday night.
The operation was launched yesterday after contact with the three-member expedition could not be established on Friday.
“Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, John Snorri from Iceland and Juan Pablo from Chile are still missing on the K2 mountain expedition,” officials in Skardu said.
The rescue and search team of Pakistan Army using helicopters started the mission on Saturday in extremely challenging weather and flew as high as 7,000 meters but unfortunately have not spotted anyone thus far, they said.
Meanwhile, Skardu Deputy Commissioner Karim Dad Ghughtai has received Sajid Sadpara, Ali’s on, who has returned from K2’s Bottleneck.
Sajid had to abort his ascent on Friday due to a malfunctioning oxygen regulator and descended to Camp 3. On Friday evening, he went out to search for the other team members but did not find any trace of them.
Sadpara is a Pakistani mountaineer and has proudly hoisted the country’s flag on eight peaks. He was also part of the team which successfully achieved the first-ever winter summit on Nanga Parbat in 2016.
“Praying for a miracle,” the Alpine Adventure Guides said on its official Twitter handle earlier this morning.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari yesterday in a tweet had said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa are both concerned and personally following all developments regarding the missing mountaineers.
“Prayers needed from everyone for their safe return,” he also said.
“Weather conditions aren’t favourable so it’s not an easy mission,” he said and added “We have [the] support of Pakistan Army and will be doing everything possible to get them home safely. Keep praying Pakistan!,” he said in another tweet.
Earlier, a Bulgarian mountaineer fell to his death during another expedition on K2, his team said Friday.
Seven Summit Treks — a trekking company leading the expedition — said Atanas Skatov, 42, fell as he was changing ropes during his descent to basecamp.
The Alpine Club of Pakistan also confirmed the incident, saying his body was later recovered and flown by a Pakistani military helicopter to the nearby city of Skardu.
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.
Winds on K2’s peak can blow at more than 200 kilometres per hour (125 miles per hour) and temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 Fahrenheit).
With Pakistan’s borders open and with few other places to go, this winter an unprecedented four teams totalling around 60 climbers converged on the mountain, more than all previous expeditions put together.
Unlike Mount Everest, which has been topped by thousands of climbers young and old, K2 is much less travelled.