Tom Ballard: Search finds 'no sign' of missing climbers

Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi Image copyright Daniele Nardi
Image caption Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi before their last contact with their team

Military helicopters searching for two missing climbers on a mountain in Pakistan have found "no sign" of them.

Tom Ballard, who is originally from Derbyshire, and Italian Daniele Nardi, last made contact from Nanga Parbat last month after sighting avalanche traces.

Tensions between Pakistan and India and poor flying weather delayed rescuers but visibility had improved.

Spanish and Pakistani high altitude teams are leading the search.

The Pakistani aircrafts took off from Skardu with four Spanish rescuers onboard to the "Killer Mountain" to resume the full-scale search.

One of the teams piloted a drone to scour the route, while the other rescuers traced the men's steps on foot.

Image copyright Tom Ballard
Image caption Tom Ballard is an experienced climber who has set records for his mountaineering feats

Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said there had been "no sign of climbers or a camp site".

He hopes the improved weather will allow the rescue team to search during the day on Tuesday.

The route Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi were attempting on the world's ninth highest peak is known as the Mummery Spur. The men were last heard from on 24 February.

About 121,661 euros (£104,000) has been raised to keep funding a helicopter search team, which is said to cost about 50,000 euros (£43,000) a day.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tom Ballard's mother Alison Hargreaves on her descent from the top of Mount Everest, which she reached in 1995

Unused donations will go to schools in Pakistan that Mr Nardi supported.

Mr Ballard, 30, originally from Belper, Derbyshire, is the son of Alison Hargreaves, who died descending from the summit of K2 in 1995 - the same year she became the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.

A search for Mr Ballard, who moved to Scotland in 1995, and Mr Nardi began on Thursday after delays due to airspace restrictions.

A three-person tent "invaded by snow" was spotted on the same day.

Image copyright Pakistan Embassy

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