Three foreign climbers are missing and feared dead on Pakistan’s treacherous Karakorum mountain range in the country’s far north, an official said Thursday.
Pakistan is home to five of the world’s 14 “super peaks” — those over 8,000 metres (26,246 feet) high — and the climbing season is currently in full swing.
A senior government official from the Gilgit Baltistan tourism department told that Canadian Richard Cartier and Australian Matthew Eakin were missing on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, while Briton Gordon Henderson was lost climbing Broad Peak, the twelfth-highest.
“We cannot declare them dead until the bodies are found,” the official said. “We pray we find them alive, but the chances are very slim.”
Henderson, a wing commander with Britain’s Royal Air Force, went missing on July 19 on the 8,051-metre Broad Peak, the armed force said on its verified Facebook page.
“Our thoughts are with Wing Commander Henderson’s family, friends and colleagues at this dreadful time,” it said.
Eakin and Cartier have been missing since the weekend on K2, which is nicknamed the “Savage Mountain” for its high level of difficulty.
Records have tumbled this season, according to the Pakistan Alpine Club, with over 140 people summiting the 8,611-metre K2 — including 20 women.
Until this year, it had been scaled just 425 times, whereas Everest — the world’s highest — had been conquered by more than 6,000 people since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the top in 1953.—INP