ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Army has launched a fresh aerial operation to find three mountaineers who went missing while attempting to summit the world’s second highest peak, K-2, in the country’s north as hopes for their survival fade amid prayers for their safe recovery.
The operation to locate the missing climbers – Muhammad Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, John Snorri from Iceland and JP Mohr from Chile – was stopped just hours after it resumed for the third consecutive day, with officials uncertain when weather conditions would improve enough for it to resume again.
The trio was attempting to scale the mountain without oxygen support in winter to make history. Bulgarian alpinist Atanas Skatov, who was part of the expedition, died on Friday after he fell into a crevasse.
The three lost contact with base camp late on Friday and were reported missing on Saturday, after their support team stopped receiving communications from them during their ascent of the 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) high K2 — sometimes referred to as “killer mountain.”
Located in the Karakorum mountain range, K2 is one of the most dangerous climbs. Last month, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers made history by scaling the K2 for the first time in winter.
Sadpara’s son Sajid Ali Sadpara, who joined the expedition but later abandoned due to equipment issues, has little hopes for the survival of his father and the other two climbers, too.
Talking to reporters on Sunday, he apprehended the trio probably met an accident while on their way back after summiting the 8,611-meter (28,251-foot) peak. Chances of surviving the extremely cold weather conditions without proper gear for three days are “very low,” he added.
تم لوٹ آؤ پہاڑوں کی قسم
تم لوٹ آؤ پوری قوم انتظار کر رہی ہیں
— Sajid Ali Sadpara (@SajidAliSadpara) February 7, 2021
Nonetheless, he said, an operation could be launched to retrieve their bodies.
He also tweeted about his missing father. “Tum Laut Ao Paharun ki Qasam. Tum laut ao k puri qaum intezaar kr rahi hey,” wrote Sajid Ali Sadpara as a caption of his father’s picture he shared with the fans and followers. Earlier in an interview, he had asked for a search operation for the missing climbers including his father.
Ali Sadpara is the only Pakistani climber to have summited eight peaks measuring over 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) – five in Pakistan and three in Nepal – during his illustrious climbing career.