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Army begins operation to rescue foreign mountaineers at Nanga Parbat

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army has started operation for rescue of the two foreign mountaineers who went missing at Nanga Parbat mountain on Saturday.

Media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “An operation is in progress in response to a request for rescue of one male and one female foreign mountaineers who are stuck in bad weather at Nanga Parbat.”

It comes a day after Elisabeth Revol, from France, and Polish national Tomek Mackiewicz were spotted through binoculars by fellow climbers at the base camp.

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Scaling Nanga Parbat, which is also known as ‘a killer mountain’,  is not a cake walk. It earned the nickname ‘killer mountain’ after more than 30 climbers died trying to conquer it before the first successful summit in 1953.

The request was made to Pakistan army to save lives of the (European) mountaineers by their concerned embassies, ISPR said.

“Two helicopters are undertaking rescue mission. We have dropped down four individuals who have seen (Revol),” said an official from military.

“They hopefully will recover the lady tonight,” he said, adding that saving Mackiewicz will be “quite difficult” because he is believed to “be present on a very high point”.

“But it is possible,” he said.

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A spokesman for the Alpine Club of Pakistan said that four mountaineers were lifted from the base camp of the country’s highest mountain K-2 to rescue the missing climbers.

“The rescue operation was started in the afternoon and army helicopters dropped volunteers in the area where the mountaineers are believed to be missing,” Karar Haideri told AFP.

“The operation was delayed in the morning because of bad weather,” he added.

According to the tour managers who arranged the pair’s expedition, Revol has sent messages from the mountain expressing concern over Mackiewicz’s fate.

“For Tomek, I don’t think we can have any more hope. This is a tragedy. I’m deeply affected,” the tour operators quoted her most recent message as saying.

They said she has also reported bad weather on the mountain, writing: “There is fog, and I couldn’t see or hear any sound of helicopters, and I want to believe it again.” Nanga Parbat, in northern Pakistan, is the world’s ninth highest mountain at 8,125 metres.

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