Body of Japanese climber found, search for other continues

  • Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi went missing while attempt to summit 7,027-metre Spantik Peak

ISLAMABAD: The body of one of the two missing Japanese climbers was found at Spantik peak in Shigar Valley on Saturday, while the search for the other is underway.

Both the Japanese climbers went missing during their attempt to summit 7,027-metre Spantik Peak, after ground rescuers remained unable to trace them in an initial attempt on Wednesday.

Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi climbing in Alpine style without porters had reached camp 2, situated at 5,300m altitude, between Shigar and Nagar districts of Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday, but when another seven-member Japanese expedition team reached the camp the next day, they were not there.

Subsequently, they suspended their expedition and returned to the base camp to inform officials.

Shigar Deputy Commissioner Waliullah Falahi confirmed to Dawn.com today that one of the climbers had been found dead. “The nine-member rescue team recovered one climber and kept it at [a] safe place. Now they [are] searching for [the] other climber,” he said.

Naiknaam Karim from tour operator Adventure Tours Pakistan also corroborated that the body was found and a search was underway for the other climber.

The body was unidentified as of the filing of this report.

On Saturday morning, the rescue team members descended a 300m crevice in an attempt to rescue the missing climbers. Pakistan Army helicopters spotted the pair and identified the potential location on Thursday.

The body was found 300 meters below camp 3.

“The rescue teams are doing everything possible to support the search operation and ensure a swift and safe conclusion,” said a spokesperson for the Shigar DC’s office. “We understand the difficulty of the situation and are working closely with the Japanese authorities to ensure a successful outcome.”

According to the Shigar DC, the Japanese Embassy in Islamabad and the Japanese consulate in Karachi have been informed of the developments and Pakistani authorities are working closely with them to ensure a swift and safe conclusion to the search operation.

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