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At least 9 climbers die on K-2 in Pakistan
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15:38, August 04, 2008

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At least nine climbers were feared dead on K-2, the world's second highest peak in northern Pakistan, after an ice avalanche hit them and their ropes, Pakistani officials were quoted as saying by media reports Monday.

A total of 22 people, mostly foreigners, in eight different groups scaled K-2's summit on Friday, added the officials.

Those who perished included South Koreans and Nepalese. Serbian, Norwegian, Dutch and French climbers were also believed to be among those who might have died.

Several other mountaineers were missing, prompting a desperate rescue effort on the peak, which is regarded as more dangerous to climb than Mount Everest.

The disaster occurred when a chunk of ice from an ice pillar snapped on Friday, breaking fixed ropes at a steep gully known as the Bottleneck with an altitude of more than 8,000 metres, according to expedition organizers.

The area at the Bottleneck is known as the most dangerous spot. The fatality rate for those who reach summit is three times higher than for Mount Everest.

The Pakistani Army was quoted by media as saying on Sunday evening that plans for a rescue mission were being discussed but that the possibilities for success were limited.

The toll from the avalanche was the highest from a single incident on K-2 since at least 1995, when seven climbers died after being caught in a fierce storm.


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