Rescuers lose sight of Italian climbers stranded on Himalayan peak
Rescue teams supported by Pakistan's army on Sunday lost the sight of two Italian climbers stranded five days ago some 7,000 metres up a Himalayan peak as the bad weather continued to hamper the rescue mission, the dpa reported.
"When the weather was clear this morning the both climbers could not be spotted at the site where they were seen yesterday," said Mohammed Akram, vice president of Alpine Club of Pakistan. Later on bad weather reduced the visibility to almost zero.
Simon Kehrer and Walter Nones were climbing a new route on Nanga Parbat, altitude 8,126 metres, when rain and storms opened up many crevasses, blocking their way back to the base camp.
Their colleague, world-renowned Italian climber Karl Unterkircher, fell into a ravine and died. The survivors confirmed the death but lost contact with the world on Wednesday when their satellite phone lost the batteries.
An Italian rescue team, comprising Silvio Mondinelli and Maurizio Gallo, spotted the stranded alpinists from an army helicopter which over flew them on Saturday. It made two unsuccessful attempts to airdrop communications equipment and food.
Due to bad weather conditions no rescue flight was made on Sunday.
"The Italian rescuers say they would first carry out the reconnaissance to re-spot the stranded climbers when the weather gets clear and then resume the rescue operation," said Akram.
Rashid Ahmad, the spokesman of Hushe Treks and Tours, the tour operator which organized the expedition for the Italian climbers, also confirmed the site of the survivors has been lost.
"There is nothing to be worried about. Apparently, they are climbing up the mountain to go on the other side and reach a known and relatively easy route."