Death of High-Altitude Porter Mohammad Hassan was accidental, says Inquiry Report

GILGIT: A committee formed by the Gilgit-Baltistan government to investigate the death of High-Altitude Porter Mohammad Hassan on K2 has submitted its report to the Chief Secretary of the region.

The report, compalied by the committee comprising officials of Tourism Department of Gilgit-Baltistan, members of Alpine Club of Pakistan and representatives of tour operators, has concluded that Mohammad Hassan died accidentally, because the terrain where he was stuck was very difficult, and also because he did not have proper gears and cloths for the K2 expedition. The report recommends action against the tour operator, Lela Peak Expedition, for failing to provide proper gears to the High-Altitude Porter.

The report also suggests that while many mountaineers continued to climb towards the summit, leaving Hassan unattended, others, especially photographer Gabriel Tarso, made numerous efforts to help him, but their efforts did not bear fruit because of the complexity of the situation.

Read the full report below:


The report says that because Hassan was not properly equipped with proper wear, his abdomen got exposed to the extreme cold, as he remained suspended upside down on a rope, after facing an accident.

The report further says that weather conditions, limited ability to communicate with the base camp, lack of experience and preparedness, as well as insufficient and inappropriate clothing caused the death of Mohammad Hassan. Other facts mentioned are delayed rescue efforts, because of darkness and ‘ferocious’ weather conditions.

The report proposes improving the weather monitoring system on K2, improvement of communication infrastructure, better acclimatization and training opportunities and establishment of “clear and well-defined emergency protocols” to avoid such incidents in the future. The report further proposed better insurance policies for High-Altitude and Low-Altitude Porters, among other suggestions.

The inquiry committee has advised that Gabriele Tarso be awarded an appreciation letter by the GB Governor or Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan for his efforts to save Mohammad Hassan.

The report finds Lela Peak Expedition in violation of Mountaineering Rules and Regulation 1999, for failing to provide adequate kit to the HAP, as well as hiring an inexperienced HAP, while also failing to insure the porter. The committee also asked the operator to abstain from launching expeditions in Gilgit-Baltistan for the next two years.

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