GILGIT: Pakistan Army Aviation helicopters rescued three stranded mountaineers from the Rakaposhi mountain on Wednesday.

Local mountaineer Wajidullah Nagri and Jakub Vicek and Peter Macek of the Czech Republic had scaled the 7,788-meter peak on Thursday last.

However, they were stranded at an altitude of 6,900 meters while descending.

Nagar deputy commissioner Zulqarnain Khan said bad weather, strong winds and fear of avalanches forced the climbers to stop descending.

He said the rescue operation was started on Sunday, but bad weather hindered the mission till Tuesday.

GB finance minister Javed Ali Manwa said food, ropes and communication devices were dropped to the stranded climbers through helicopter on Tuesday. He said after getting the supplies, the stranded climbers had started descending, and arrived at a 6,200-meter altitude on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday morning, army helicopters picked the climbers from 6,200m altitude and shifted them to Gilgit, the minister said.

Meanwhile, the GB government has decided to look into the possibility of taking legal action against the Czech mountaineers and their tour operator for undertaking the adventure without obtaining permission from the department concerned.

A letter from the region’s tourism department to the GB assistant inspector general of police (operations) and the assistant tourism director for Nagar, said the two foreigners had applied for a permit to summit Rakaposhi on July 16, but the permission was not granted over “security concerns”.

The letter dated Sept 9, a copy of which is available with Dawn, added it came to be known through social media that the mountaineers summitted the peak without obtaining the permit from the department concerned.

It is, therefore, requested to submit a detailed report within 24 hours so that action could be taken against the tour operator and individuals [who] violated the mountaineering rules,” the letter reads.

Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) secretary Karrar Haidri had told Dawn that the two Czech mountaineers had scaled the peak without obtaining the required permits.

GB tourism minister Raja Nasir said the Czech pair had neither obtained any no-objection certificate nor paid the insurance-related costs. He said they had also not paid Rs3 to Rs4 million cost of helicopter rescue.

“We are taking action against them. Until they pay the helicopter expenses, we will keep them in Gilgit,” he said.

He added action would also be taken against their local facilitators.

He said a complaint had also been made to the government of the Czech Republic over the violation of mountaineering rules by its nationals.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021

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