2 foreign mountaineers stuck in avalanche at Ultar Sar Peak rescued

Published July 1, 2018
Britons Bruce Normand and Timothy Miller rescued after a mission by Pakistan Army pilots. — Photo provided by the ISPR
Britons Bruce Normand and Timothy Miller rescued after a mission by Pakistan Army pilots. — Photo provided by the ISPR

Pakistan Army pilots have successfully rescued the two foreign mountaineers who were stuck in a snow avalanche at above 19,000 feet high Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza Valley of Gilgit Baltistan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Sunday.

According to Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, director general of the ISPR, climbers Bruce Normand and Miller Timothy from the UK were rescued alive; however, Christian Huber from Austria did not survive.

Abdul Karim, a tour operator, had told Dawn on Saturday that the three mountaineers — Huber, Normand and Miller — were sleeping in their tents when an avalanche hit them.

Karim had confirmed that Huber died in the incident while the two other mountaineers were injured but were out of danger.

Rescue operation at 19,000 feet high Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza. — Photo courtesy ISPR
Rescue operation at 19,000 feet high Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza. — Photo courtesy ISPR

The three-member expedition started in late May and was permitted to go till the first week of July. The team was being managed by Higher Ground Expeditions, a tour operating company in Hunza Valley.

Karrar Haidri, a spokesman for the Alpine Club of Pakistan, had also confirmed the incident and said: “The Ultar peak has claimed a number of lives and seen only a few successful summits.”

Huber, he said, was the president of the American Alpine Club.

He added that three groups of foreign climbers were currently trying to scale K2, the second highest mountain in the world.

In January, volunteers rescued a French mountaineer stranded on a Himalayan peak but called off efforts to retrieve a Polish climber who was declared dead after a dramatic rescue effort.

Elisabeth Revol and Tomasz Mackiewicz were climbing Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest peak in the world at 8,126 meters (26,660 feet), but called for help.

Four volunteers from a separate Polish expedition set out to find them and managed to reach Revol, a renowned mountaineer who was suffering from frostbite on her feet and could not walk. Poor weather, however, prevented the team from reaching Mackiewicz, who had snow blindness and altitude sickness.

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