Rescue operation launched to locate 2 missing Japanese climbers in northern Pakistan

Rescue operation launched to locate 2 missing Japanese climbers in northern Pakistan

Missing climbers are suspected to have fallen from above 5000-meter altitude

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistani authorities launched a rescue operation on Thursday to locate two Japanese climbers who went missing in the country's northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi had gone missing on Tuesday while climbing in Alpine style without porters between the Shigar and Nagar districts in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, the Alpine Club of Pakistan, the country's official mountaineering association, confirmed.

Karrar Haidri, the club secretary, told Anadolu over the phone that the missing duo had reached camp 2, located at 5,300 meters (17,388 feet) altitude, on Monday but when another seven-member Japanese expedition team arrived on Tuesday, they were not there.

They then decided to suspend their expedition and returned to the base camp to notify local officials.

“An expedition has been sent to locate and rescue the missing climbers, who are suspected to have fallen from camp 2,” Haidri said, adding that drones are also being used to trace their whereabouts.

In August last year, a Japanese climber was killed and another injured during an expedition in the region.

Gilgit-Baltistan’s Tourism Department Director Iqbal Hussain told Anadolu that all possible resources are being utilized to locate the missing alpinists.

Formerly known as the Northern Area and once part of the erstwhile Pakistan-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five peaks of over 8,000m (26,246 ft), including the K2, the world's second-highest mountain peak.

Several mountaineers have lost their lives in recent years while attempting to ascend the treacherous mountains.

Pakistan's iconic climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Iceland's John Snorri, and Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr were killed while attempting to summit 8,611 meters (28,251 feet) K2 in July 2021.

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