Searchers have spotted the bodies of two climbers from Britain and Italy in Pakistan days after the pair disappeared while trying to scale one of the world’s highest peaks, officials said Saturday.
Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi were caught in bad weather about two weeks ago while trying to climb the 8,125-meter Nanga Parbat, nicknamed “Killer Mountain,” using a route that has never been successfully completed.
The search for Nardi, 42, and Ballard, 30, officially ended when the bodies of the pair were identified “beyond reasonable doubt” through telescope and aerial photos, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan said.
“With great sadness I inform that the search for @NardiDaniele and Tom Ballard is over as @AlexTxikon and the search team have confirmed that the silhouettes spotted on Mummery [trail] at about 5,900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P,” Stefano Pontecorvo, tweeted (@pontecorvoste). The Italian diplomat was personally monitoring the rescue effort.
Pakistani military helicopters were used to fly search teams to the site.
Nardi’s family, in a message posted on his Facebook page, also confirmed his death along with that of his British climbing partner, saying they were “heartbroken.” “A part of them will always remain on Nanga Parbat.”
Organizers said Nardi and Ballard had last established contact with their base camp on the evening of Feb. 24, saying they would be moving upward the next day.
Ballard’s mother, Alison Hargreaves, also died in Pakistan while trying to climb K2, the world’s second-tallest mountain at 8,611 meters. Months before her 1995 death, Hargreaves had scaled Mount Everest alone, without supplementary oxygen or support.
Both Ballard and Nardi stood among the top 10 Himalayan Alpinists in their own right, wrote veteran Pakistani climber Nazir Sabir on his Facebook page.
“We are all so sad two more friends are gone, disappearing into the higher heavens and yet again the ‘Killer Mountain’ takes a toll as they become an eternal part of the Diamir [district, or west-side] Face of Nanga Parbat,” Sabir said.