Pakistan confirms 11 dead in K2 avalanche

August 4th, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 4 (DPA) Eleven climbers died in an avalanche on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, officials confirmed Monday after a crisis meeting was held with representatives of Pakistan’s government and tour operators. Shahzad Qaiser, secretary for sport and tourism, confirmed three Koreans, two Pakistanis, two Nepalese, a Frenchman, a Norwegian, a Serb, and an Irish national died.

“We do not have any missing mountain climbers,” Qaiser said, adding that Pakistani authorities were in contact with two Italian climbers, one on his way to base camp and another already there.

Two Dutch climbers with frostbite were rescued by helicopter from the mountain, according to Mohammed Ilyas, spokesman for the Askari Aviation air rescue service. Qaiser said their limbs might have to be amputated because of the severity of their frostbite.

Eight expeditions were affected Friday when a chunk of ice fell from the mountain at a height of 8,211 metres, taking a large number of fixed ropes with it and cutting off climbers.

At the time, 15 climbers were heading toward the 8,611-metre summit or descending after reaching the top.

As climbers were looking for an alternative route to descend, a second avalanche dragged down several more climbers. At least two other climbers had died earlier when they fell into a crevasse.

K2 is the second highest after the Mount Everest.

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