Islamabad: Pakistani authorities on Thursday
called off the search for three mountaineers who went missing
during an expedition to the highest peak in the Karakoram
range, saying it was feared that they had perished.
The search for the three climbers - a Swiss, an Austrian
and a Pakistani was called off after two Pakistan Army
helicopters found no trace of them over a plateau between
7,000 metres and 7,400 metres that was traversed by them.
After the weather cleared, the helicopters flew to the
base camp of the 8,068-metre Gasherbrum peak at noon and
conducted a survey to trace Gerfried Goschl, Cedric Hahlen and
Nisar Hussain Sadpara.
Karrar Haidri, a spokesman for the Alpine Club of
Pakistan, said the helicopters conducted a survey of the north
and south sides of the mountain, especially the route followed
by the team led by Goschl.
"No trace whatsoever of the missing mountaineers could be
found on the mountain. After flying along all possible flanks,
and failing to spot any sign, the pilots decided to finish
their search mission," Haidri said.
Later, the helicopters evacuated three frostbitten Polish
climbers to Skardu.
According to experienced mountaineers, it is presumed
that the three climbers were probably blown off a sharp ridge
near the summit by strong winds. The near vertical southern
face of the mountain is thousands of metres high and is
located in Chinese territory.
After discussing the situation with Wolfgang Goschl, the
brother of Gerfried Goschl, Artur Hajzer of the Polish
expedition decided to abandon any further search for the
missing mountaineers and to close down the base camp.
Alpine Club of Pakistan president Manzoor Hussain, in a
condolence message, expressed his shock over the tragic loss
of the three mountaineers in an unfortunate accident.
He said Pakistan`s mountaineering community was shattered
by this irreparable loss.
Nisar Hussain Sadpara was one of the three Pakistani
mountaineers who had climbed all the five mountains of the
country rising above 8,000 metres.