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No trace of Sadpara, two others as aerial search continues on third day

By News Desk
February 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army continued search for Pakistani mountaineer Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Iceland’s John Snorri and Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr for the third day with helicopters, hoping to locate the missing men alive but could not succeed.

Gilgit-Baltistan’s Home Secretary Muhammad Ali Randhawa shared the pictures taken of the K2 on the Pakistan Army Aviation helicopters during the search operation, reported a private news channel on Monday.

Earlier, Randhawa had tweeted that the third-day helicopter search mission by Pakistan Army Aviation began at 9:30am. The secretary had shared the update after the helicopters had reached the base camp.

“Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks will again guide the helicopters at K2 where to see, possible targeted areas to spot the missing bodies,” said the secretary. He had also warned that the weather was “building up today”.

Separately in a Facebook post, Dawa Sherpa shared the details of the search operation. "Today we were able to make search flights all over 7,000m by two army helicopters with the help of the Army Aviation 5 Squadron," said Sherpa.

The Nepali climber said that he, along with army pilots and Lakpa Dendi, went "through the areas" that they "were aware of", to locate the missing climbers. "We had less visibility and the upper mountain is covered in clouds. For the last three days, pilots made a great job, out of their limits but we can’t find any clues there," said Sherpa. He also added that the team was waiting for "another permissible weather and search possibility".

On Sunday, Sajid Ali Sadpara, the son of Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who safely climbed down and reached Skardu, had said that the chances of his father being alive "are next to none".

In a conversation with reporters in Skardu, where he arrived earlier on Sunday, Sajid said: "Rescue operations now only make sense if they are carried out to bring back his body. Otherwise, the chance for anyone to survive at 8,000 metres (after being missing for) two to three days are next to none." Sadpara and two other mountaineers — John Snorri from Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile — had gone missing on Saturday after which a search operation to retrieve them was launched.

According to updates posted on Snorri’s Facebook account on Friday, at 12:29pm, the GPS stopped working and had not updated in six hours. It stated that Sajid had to return due to his oxygen regulator not working. “They were at a bottleneck at around 10am,” the account said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister of Iceland Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson spoke with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on telephone regarding the missing Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri.

Qureshi apprised his counterpart of the specific steps taken by the Pakistani authorities to search and rescue the missing mountaineers, according to a foreign office press release issued Saturday night.

Qureshi reassured that Pakistan would spare no effort and would extend all possible support in this regard. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said on Monday that the entire nation was praying for the safe return of its hero Muhammad Ali Sadpara and other foreign mountaineers. In a tweet, he said that efforts were underway to trace the missing climbers. He prayed for early return of the missing climbers.