Search for British climber missing on Pakistani mountain set to resume

Mountaineers went missing last Sunday search operation hindered due to restricted airspace. — Dawn

Mountaineers went missing last Sunday search operation hindered due to restricted airspace. — Dawn

Nanga Parbat is the world's ninth highest mountain and a number of deaths have earned it the nickname of "killer mountain".

Hopes dimmed for two climbers from Britain and Italy who went missing on Nanga Parbat as helicopters failed to spot signs of the mountaineers Monday, an army aviation official said.

Tom Ballard, 30, was reported missing on Nanga Parbat - dubbed "Killer Mountain" - earlier this week.

"When I heard they were missing I immediately suspected they were lost, and believe..."

A planned helicopter and drone search was called off due to adverse weather conditions on Saturday, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan tweeted.

Stefano Pontecorvo hailed the move as a "big step forward" and said the weather has cleared and should allow the search to start.

"Of course I'm hopeful of finding them, of course I might also realise it's been since the 24th (February) until the 1st of March, there have been avalanches, there have been three days of very bad weather", he said.

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"Helicopters, especially in the high mountains of Pakistan are expensive".

Nardi and Ballard set out on the climb on Feb 22, making it to the fourth base camp by the following day.

The pair last made contact on Sunday but have not been heard from since.

The search was delayed because rescue teams were forced to wait for permission to send up a helicopter after Pakistan closed its airspace on Wednesday in response to escalating tensions with India.

Mr Pontecorvo said Tom and Daniele had initially been joined by two Pakistani climbers who reached Camp 3 on the 8,126-metre mountain before turning back.

Mr Ballard, originally from Belper, Derbyshire, is the son of Alison Hargreaves, who died descending from the summit of K2 in 1995 - the same year she became the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.

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