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Italian envoy thanks rescuers over risky search for missing climbers

Updated March 11, 2019


Tom Ballard (L) and Daniel Nardi are believed to have died at Nanga Parbat. — Photo courtesy: Daniel Nardi's Facebook page
Tom Ballard (L) and Daniel Nardi are believed to have died at Nanga Parbat. — Photo courtesy: Daniel Nardi's Facebook page

GILGIT: The Italian ambassador to Pakistan, the families and various foreign expeditions have acknowledged the efforts of four Pakistani rescuers for their risky mission to trace the climbers, Italian Daniel Nardi and UK’s Tom Ballard, at Nanga Parbat.

The two climbers are believed to have died after a search operation to trace them was abandoned on Saturday.

They applauded the Pakistani rescuers, Ali Sadpara, Rehmatullah Baig, Imtiaz Hussain and Dilawar Hussain, for the brave actions, dedication and risk during the very dangerous search for the missing climbers on the killer mountain.

Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo, in a tweet, said ‘respect and much gratitude for what Pakistani rescuers have done and the selfless assistance they have always given’.

The family members of missing mountaineer Daniel Nardi, through a message, said, ‘we thank Ali Sadpara, Rahmatullah Baig and the whole rescue team, the Pakistani and Italian authorities, journalists, sponsors, all friends who have shown so much collaboration and generosity’.

A foreign expedition team’s social media page said Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon, Ali Sadpara, Rahmat Baig, Pakistani pilots and anyone involved did something unbelievable in such dangerous conditions. It will remain forever the best example of mountaineering brotherhood. These people deserve much respect, it said.

A foreign climber said in his social media post, ‘we want to give respect to Pakistani climbers who put their lives at risk to look for missing climbers and the Pak Army to launch helicopters during Pakistan and India border tensions’.

Alpine Club of Pakistan, in a statement, said, ‘our deepest condolences to the families and friends of Tom Ballard and Danielle Nardi. We appreciate the efforts made by Italian ambassador and all members of search team.’

Ali Sadpara, who is first to climb Nanga Parbat in winter and friend of Daniel Nardi, had arrived at the Nanga Parbat base camp along with Imtiaz Hussain and Dilawar Hussain on Feb 28 to start search on foot for the missing climbers. They climbed up to camp 3 and also took part in Army Aviation helicopter’s aerial reconnaissance missions.

Rehmatullah Baig, who was part of the missing climbers’ expedition, also joined Alex Txikon and his team and remained with them to guide them to the missing climbers’ route and tent sites.

Ali Sadpara has recovered climbing equipment and other things from their camps and will hand over these to the families of the victims.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2019