GILGIT: In a last ditch-effort, the government on Tuesday joined rescuers in an attempt to locate three missing Iranian climbers.
The rescue operations were resumed a day after being suspended. The latest effort is seen as the best attempt to save the climbers before inclement weather makes rescue efforts impossible.
Aidin Bozorgi, Pouya Keivan and Mojtaba Jarah, all Iranians, were part of an 11-member mountaineering expedition that scaled the K3 or Broad Peak on July 16.
While the remaining members of the expedition reached the base camp, the three Iranian climbers were stuck above 7,400 metres on the peak as their descent became complicated due to bad weather.
According to tour operators, the three climbers were without food, water and shelter since July 18.
“The search operation is on as per schedule and we hope for the best,” said Shehzad Ahmed, an official in the information department.
“It will be the last effort to locate the missing climbers before the inclement weather makes it impossible from tomorrow onwards,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
On Tuesday night, Gilgit Baltistan’s Home Secretary Ataur Rahman flew to Skardu by an army helicopter to supervise the operation, which is being led by renowned German expert Thomas Laemmle. Laemmle had made an aerial search of the peak on Sunday and had collected GPS data and satellite images of possible locations where the climbers could be holed up.
“Laemmle had identified three possible locations in his previous search and he will further concentrate on these today to reach a conclusion,” Ahmed said, adding that an official announcement will be made once Rahman is back in his office, after consulting experts at the operations base.
Meanwhile, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan has denied reports of another four Spanish climbers going missing on Gasherbrum 1. “They have been traced. They were lagging behind and now on their way back to base camp,” said Yasir Hussain, an official in the tourism department.
The mountaineers were part of an 11-member Spanish team attempting to climb the 8,068-metre Gasherbrum 1.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.