An official of the Pakistan Alpine Club says authorities are dispatching a helicopter to northern Ghizar district on Tuesday in a bid to rescue four Italians and three Pakistani climbers stranded due to an avalanche.
An Italian diplomat and two mountaineering workers in Pakistan said on Monday that an avalanche had stranded a group of four Italian and three Pakistani climbers on a mountain in the country’s north.
A tour operator, Ashraf Aman, who arranged the expedition, said the avalanche hit the seven mountaineers when they were descending.
"I cannot comment on their condition at this stage, but a helicopter is being arranged. Volunteers from the area are being dispatched there," he said.
He gave no further details.
Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo confirmed Monday’s incident happened in the northern district of Ghizar, but he also gave no further details.
#rescuemission. Italian expedition that got hit by an avalanche in the Hindu Kush Ishkoman valley was led by Tarcisio Bellò. Other members are Luca Morellato, David & Tino Toldo.— Alpine Adventure (@Alpine_Pakistan) June 17, 2019
The Pakistani members are Nadeem, Shakeel & Imtiaz.
2 Écureuils would take off tomorrow morning. pic.twitter.com/glTHiZWITI
Rescue mission on Tuesday
According to Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club, authorities were trying to send a helicopter to the district of Ghizar on Tuesday in an effort to rescue all the stranded climbers and bring them safely back to the base camp.
He said it was difficult to say what the condition of the climbers was.
"A rescue mission will begin tomorrow [Tuesday] and we are praying for the safety of stranded mountaineers," he told The Associated Press.
Mountaineers from across the world travel to Pakistan every year to try to scale its high northern mountain ranges.
Harsh weather and conditions often prove a test for the most experienced of climbers.
The Italian expedition got hit by an avalanche in the #HinduKush ( #Ishkoman valley) was led by Tarcisio Bellò.— 4sport.ua (@4sportua) June 17, 2019
Confirming death of Pakistani Imtiaz from Shimshal valley, he was member of the team. Other members have various degrees of injurieshttps://t.co/qmc29G4nTU#Pakistan pic.twitter.com/kcVXIApV9Z
Earlier this year, two European climbers — an Italian Daniele Nardi and Briton Tom Ballard — were killed on the Pakistani mountain Nanga Parbat, which is the world's ninth-tallest with a peak of 8,126 metres (26,660 feet), during bad winter weather.
Nardi, from near Rome, had attempted to scale Nanga Parbat, nicknamed "Killer Mountain" for its high number of climber fatalities, in winter several times.
Ballard's disappearance hit his homeland particularly hard as he is the son of Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to scale Mount Everest alone.
She died at age 33 descending the summit of K2.