Bodies of 2 climbers from Italy, UK found on Pakistan’s ‘killer mountain’

The bodies of two mountaineers from the UK and Italy were found Saturday in northern Pakistan, nearly two weeks after the duo went missing while trying to climb Nanga Parbat in Gilgit-Baltistan region, the Italian ambassador said Saturday.

Italian national Daniele Nardi, 42, and Tom Ballard, a 30-year-old Briton, went missing on February 24 as they climbed the mountain, which at 8,125 metres (26,660 feet) is the world’s ninth-highest peak. Nanga Parbat is also known as the “killer mountain”. Italian ambassador to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo tweeted that the bodies of the two men had been identified from aerial photos. “It hurts to announce that the search is officially over,” he wrote.

“The search team have confirmed that the silhouettes spotted… at about 5,900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom,” he tweeted. Ballard and Nardi were attempting a new route on the Mummery Rib, a steep and dangerous avalanche-prone area on the Himalayan peak.

The pair had lost contact with the base camp, prompting a search by other fellow mountaineers in collaboration with the Pakistan Army, said Karar Haidri of Alpine Club of Pakistan, which organises mountaineering and other mountain-related adventure activities.

The search was interrupted by bad weather. It also got delayed because rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday amid escalating tensions with India following the Pulwama attack.

Haidri also shared a message sent by Nardi’s family on the tragic occasion.

“We are devastated by pain; we inform you that Daniele and Tom’s researches are completed. Part of them will remain forever at Nanga Parbat,” the family said.

Nardi had attempted to scale Nanga Parbat in winter several times.

Ballard was the son of British climber Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to scale Mount Everest alone and without bottled oxygen. She died in 1995 at the age of 33 while descending K2, the second highest peak in the world.

(With inputs from PTI)