Islamabad: Hopes of finding two missing Polish mountaineers after they scaled the 8,047 metres Broad Peak in Pakistan are fading, officials said on Thursday.
A team of four Polish mountaineers completed the first winter ascent of the peak on Tuesday. However, two members of the team, Tomasz Kowalski and Maciej Berbeka went missing during the descent, the Alpine Club of Pakistan said.
The two other Poles had returned to their base camp.
Alpine Club spokesman Karrar Haidri told the media that the climbers were exhausted as summiting Broad Peak in winter was an "incredible challenge".
"Climbers who make the final push to the summit have to descend at twice the speed - a delay of half an hour can become a matter of life and death," he said.
Artur Hajzer, the leader of the Polish mountaineering expedition, said the chances of finding the two missing men were "falling dramatically".
He told a Polish news channel, "Hope is fading."
A Pakistani climber went looking for the Poles in minus 35 degrees Celsius temperatures but found no sign of them. Hajzer said time was running out because a snowstorm was expected today.
Haidri said teams had begun climbing the mountain in search of the missing men.
The Polish team faced several challenges during their expedition to Broad Peak. Before beginning their ascent, they had been on the mountain for over a month, held up by extreme cold and strong winds.