The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Thursday that Pakistan Army aviation helicopters and pilots had successfully rescued mountaineers Shehroze Kashif and Fazal Ali from Nanga Parbat.
In a statement, the ISPR said: "Pakistan Army aviation helicopters/pilots have successfully rescued both stranded mountaineers from Nanga Parbat and landed at Jaglot near Gilgit."
The two mountaineers had summited Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres, on Tuesday morning. However, the duo was reported to have gone missing while on their way back.
The Gilgit-Baltistan government had started a rescue operation within hours. On Wednesday morning, the regional government announced that police officials and climbers present at the base camp had confirmed that telescope visuals showed the mountaineers descending from camp 4 and they were “okay”.
However, bad weather did not permit Pakistan Army helicopters to rescue the stranded climbers on Wednesday while the ground rescue team could not move up to camp 1.
In an update shared earlier on Thursday, the ISPR had said that the ground rescue team had established physical contact with Kashif and Ali at camp 2. Pakistan Army pilots would attempt to airlift the stranded mountaineers by exploiting a small weather window available to rescue them from the camp located at 19,000 feet, it had added.
Earlier today, Gilgit-Baltistan Home Secretary Iqbal Hussain Khan announced that the ground monitoring team had confirmed the mountaineers were descending from camp 3 to camp 2.
The development was also confirmed by Diamer Deputy Commissioner Fayyaz Ahmed, who said that another team of mountaineers, equipped with walkie-talkies, was present at camp 2.
Separately, Kashif's official Facebook page posted that the climbers had reached camp 2 and they were "fine health-wise". It said that the mountaineers spent the night of July 5 in the open to wait for the weather to get clear and resumed their descent early in the morning.
"The duo has shown great resilience and willpower to manage things themselves in such harsh and unfavourable conditions," it added.
Kashif's father thanked the army, chief of army staff, ISPR director general, and the GB government for their support.
Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) Secretary Karrar Haidri earlier told Dawn that Kashif, who hails from Lahore, had “set another world record by summiting Nanga Parbat”, adding that the youngster had now scaled eight of the 14 peaks that were over 8,000 metres.
He is aiming to become the youngest climber in the world to summit all 8,000-metre high mountains, Haidri said.
On the other hand, Fazal Ali is an experienced mountaineer from Shimshal Valley of Hunza and had set the world record of climbing K2 three times, he added.
Two high altitude porters die
Two high altitude porters — Sharif Sadpara from Skardu and Imran Karim from Hunza — lost their lives on Broad Peak earlier this week.
Sadpara was part of an international expedition team while Karim was in a hiking group.
According to the tour operator, Sadpara slipped from the peak at around 8,000 metres altitude and fell into a deep ravine. His body is yet to be recovered as the operation is highly risky.
Sadpara was considered to be a strong and experienced high altitude porter.
In a separate incident, Karim, 35, died when he fell into a crevasse while hiking on the Broad peak base camp on Monday. The recovery of his body was not possible.
A total of 1,400 climbers will be attempting to summit peaks in Gilgit-Baltistan. As many as 100 permits have been issued to international climbers for Nanga Parbat and over 50 permits issued for Broad peak. As many as 400 international climbers will attempt to climb K2.