Climbers Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi and were last heard from on February 24th as they climbed the Nanga Parbat, which at 8,125 metres is the world's ninth-highest peak. They were attempting a route that has never before been successfully completed.
Photo: Daniele Nardi/Facebook
Two helicopters flew a Spanish climbing team from the base of K2 — the world's second highest mountain and also in northern Pakistan — to Nanga Parbat on Monday afternoon to look for the missing climbers, according to a top army aviation official.
He said the helicopters carried out an aerial search with the help of Pakistani mountaineer Rehmatullah Baig — who was climbing with the missing men before turning back — but could not find anything. “The helicopters flew for more than 30 minutes in the targeted area but there was no sign of life,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
Baig told AFP the Spanish team would begin a search with drones on Tuesday.
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Ballard is the son of British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to conquer Mount Everest solo and without bottled oxygen. She died descending K2 in 1995.
Ballard's girlfriend told the Sunday Times that she was resigned to the worst.
“It’s pointless. No hope any more. It is hopeless,” Stefania Pederiva, an Italian national who lives in the Dolomites, told the paper.
The search was delayed because rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday in response to escalating tensions with India.