Army to use infrared cameras in search mission for Ali Sadpara, two others

Published February 11, 2021
This photo shows Ali Sadpara and Alex Txikon climb Nanga Parbat in 2019 in search of two missing mountaineers. — Dawn/File
This photo shows Ali Sadpara and Alex Txikon climb Nanga Parbat in 2019 in search of two missing mountaineers. — Dawn/File

Search efforts for mountaineers Muhammad Ali Sadpara, John Snorri and John Pablo Mohr are expected to resume on Thursday, after slight improvement in Skardu's weather.

A special forward looking infrared (FLIR) mission by a C-130 aircraft along with four high-altitude porters (HAPs) from Sadpara village will be used in the operation.

Bad weather in the area over the past four days thwarted attempts for an on-ground and aerial search for the three mountaineers who were last seen near the Bottleneck on K2 on February 5.

"FLIR will be used for the search mission. High altitude climbers are also engaged for ground search as a result of any location spotted through FLIR mission. All efforts are geared up for search of national hero Ali Sadpara and his brave team including John Snorri of Iceland and JP Mohr," a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

The sensors in FLIR cameras detect infrared radiation and convert it into an image.

Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) secretary Karrar Haideri said the four HAPs — Sadiq Sadpara, Ali Muhammad Sadpara, Ali Raza Sadpara and Dilawar Sadpara — will be part of the search mission and are in Skardu.

"Sadiq and Ali Muhammad, both of whom have experience of 8,000m peaks, are already acclimatised and go above the base camp if the need arises," he said.

Ali, Snorri and Mohr lost contact with the base camp late on Friday and were reported missing on Saturday after their support team stopped receiving communications from them during their attempt to summit the world's second-highest mountain. A search operation was launched but has constantly been hampered due to extreme weather.

High altitude climbers Fazal Ali and Jalal from Shimshal, Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali from Skardu, are already at the K2 basecamp.

Imtiaz and Akbar, who are relatives of the missing Sadpara, had arrived at the basecamp via helicopter a day after the climbers were reported missing. They ascended up the mountain to look for them but were asked to return to the base camp as the weather continued to worsen and concerns arose over their health as they had not been acclimatised yet.

Meanwhile, members of the mountaineering community and ACP have urged media and social media users to respect the privacy of the families of missing climbers, particularly the family of Ali Sadpara and avoid sharing fake or unverified reports.

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