Search for missing European climbers called off

Drones aid search for Italian, Scot missing on Pakistan peak

Drones aid search for Italian, Scot missing on Pakistan peak

Other members of the team used drones and a powerful telescope to scour the slopes, but there were no signs of the missing men.

Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, holds up a picture of Tom Ballard (right) and Daniele Nardi.

Alpine Club of Pakistan, in a statement, said Alex Txikon, a Spanish climber involved in the search mission, reported from his satellite phone that no traces of their friends were found.

According to the foreign media, the girl friend of British climber Tom Ballard has said there is no hope left of him being alive.

Heavy snowfall over recent days had also raised fears that the climbers might have perished.

The search for the Derbyshire climber Tom Ballard is continuing, says a top diplomat despite reports it had been called off.

On Monday morning, two army helicopters took off from Skardu in hard weather conditions, flew over Camp-I and spent 10 minutes up there to reconnoiter a landing spot at Camp-I.

Mr Ballard is the son of Alison Hargreaves, who became the first woman to scale Mount Everest alone. She died at age 33 while descending the summit of K2, also part of the Himalayas.

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"My heart goes out to his sister and dad who have now lost both Tom and mum Alison to high-altitude mountaineering", he wrote on Twitter.

"I think people are getting really anxious and very sad about the whole thing", said Allan.

Mr Nardi, 42, from the Rome area, had attempted the Nanga Parbat summit in winter several times in the past. In 2015, he became the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.

But the Italian ambassador in Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo told the Press Association: "The search is still on".

On Thursday, experienced Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara, who was on board an army helicopter, had announced seeing a tent "invaded by snow" and "traces of an avalanche".

A full-scale search for the pair was launched on Monday, led by Spanish and Pakistani high altitude teams.

Bad weather last week twice forced the search teams to halt the operation but Pakistani military helicopters flew even after Pakistan shut its airspace over an escalation with neighboring India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Pakistani officials say their helicopters will continue assisting the families of the climbers until they decide to halt the search.

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