Islamabad, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- The Pakistan Army on Monday halted search operations for three missing mountaineers on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, officials said.
“The search operation has been called off for now. The authorities will decide whether to resume it tomorrow or not,” Abu Zafar, President of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, told EFE
Earlier in the morning, two Pakistan army helicopters resumed an aerial search for the third consecutive day to locate the three missing mountaineers who lost contact on Friday when they tried to climb K2.
Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile, John Snorri from Iceland, and Ali Sadpara from Pakistan started their attempt to ascent the 8,611-meter peak on Friday.
They were reported missing on Saturday after their support team said they had lost contact with them.
Chhang Dawa Sherpa, leader of the Seven Summit team, the Nepalese company organizing the expedition, and a member of the search team, wrote on Facebook on Monday that the two military helicopters flew over 7,000 meters to locate the missing climbers.
“We had less visibility and the upper mountain is covered in clouds. For the last three days, pilots made a great job, out of their limits but we can’t find any clues there,” Chhang said.
“The team is waiting for another permissible weather and search possibility.”
Sajid Sadpara, son of the missing climber Ali, said in a video statement on Sunday evening that the chances of the survival of the mountaineers were extremely low.
“When I returned from the most technical part of K2 ‘the bottleneck’ which starts at 8200 meters, they were ascending around 11am (Friday). I am sure they summited and on their return they might have met some problem or accident,” said Sajid.
“I think now the operation should be for body search otherwise after three days in winter their chances to be alive are almost zero.”
Sajid was with the climbers before he abandoned and returned to Camp III due to a problem with his oxygen regulator.
On Jan.16, 10 Nepalese, nine of them Sherpas, became the first to scale in winter the K2 peak located in the Karakorum mountain range.
On the same day, Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote lost his life after suffering a fall when he was coming down to K2 base camp.
The second death of the season occurred last Friday when Bulgarian climber Atanas Georgiev Skatov died from a fall at Camp III after his safety rope ripped off.
K2 was first scaled in the summer of 1954.
It is one of the most difficult and dangerous ascents, mainly due to temperature that drops to -50 degrees in winter with winds blowing at 200 kmph amid a constant risk of avalanches.
The mountain has claimed the lives of one in three climbers who have reached the top, with 85 deaths and more than 300 summits so far.
Apart from two deaths, one Spanish and one Bulgarian, an American mountaineer Alex Goldfarb was found dead on Jan.18 at Pastore Peak (6,209 meters) after disappearing the day before. EFE-EPA