GILGIT: Mountaineer Samina Baig was airlifted by Pakistan Army helicopters and admitted to a hospital in Skardu on Sunday after her health deteriorated during the expedition of K2.

Another member of the expedition team, Amina Shigri, has also abandoned the summit and started travelling back after developing oxygen saturation issues at the world’s second-highest mountain.

The two were part of an eight-member team, including women climbers from Pakistan and Italy, which started the expedition to summit K2.

Ms Baig, the first Pakistani woman to summit Mount Everest, was leading the team along with Agostino Da Polenza of Italy.

However, she was forced to abandon her expedition after serious health problems at the K2 base camp.

According to family sources, on the advice of Italian doctors present with the team, Ms Baig was transported from the base camp on horseback on Friday due to the non-availability of a helicopter.

It takes one week to trek from K2 base camp to Skardu and the team was covering the distance day and night to ensure Ms Baig received medical attention as early as possible, family sources added. The team had reached Concordia on Saturday and Askoli, around 130km away from Skardu, on Sunday morning.

The team arrived in the Dassu area of Shigar on a jeep from where Ms Baig was airlifted to Skardu by an army aviation Army helicopter on Sunday.

She was later admitted to the Combined Military Hospital, Skardu, according to family sources. She has developed problems in her lungs and is expected to travel to Islamabad today (Monday).

They said the expedition team members were acclimatising themselves at the base camp when Ms Baig developed severe breathing problems.

The Italian doctors treated her and gave her medicines, but her condition continued to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, Ms Shigri, another member of the expedition team, has also left the base camp and started trekking towards Shigar on Saturday.

The other two Pakistani climbers, Nadima and Samana, along with their four Italian colleagues will continue their expedition.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2024

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