by Farman Ali
ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: Ten of the 17 climbers on K2 missions are dead, a tour operator confirmed on Sunday.
The tragedy struck on Friday when a large chunk of ice swept away fixed ropes being used by the climbers who were descending from the summit of 28,600 feet, second highest in the world and believed to be the world’s toughest in the Karakoram range of Gilgit-Baltistan.
“Ten climbers are confirmed dead,” said Nazir Sabir, the only Pakistani to have conquered the Mount Everest.
Among the dead are three South Koreans, two Nepali sherpas, a Norwegian, a Serbian, a Dutch, and Merban Karim and Jahan Baig, two porters from Shimshal valley in upper Hunza.
Dutch climber Wilco Van Rooijen, who had previously scaled Everest without carrying oxygen with him, survived three nights and was rescued by a descending climber and a Nepali sherpa. He was brought to Camp 3.
Six are still missing, Sabir said.
They are trapped either above the traverse or at the bottleneck at an altitude of 26,000 feet, a private expedition facilitator, Sultan Khan, told Dawn.
He said they were in a precarious situation below the summit, considered to be `death zone’, after scaling the peak on August 1 at 1am.