Asia

Stranded French climber flown from Pakistan's 'Killer Mountain'

Tomasz Mackiewicz, wearing a green climbing coat, is pictured on top of a snow-white mountain range Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The search for Polish climber Tomasz Mackiewicz has been called off

A French climber stranded on one of Pakistan's most deadly Himalayan mountains has been flown to hospital after a dramatic rescue operation.

But the search for Elisabeth Revol's Polish climbing partner was called off.

Ms Revol and Tomasz Mackiewicz were climbing Nanga Parbat, nicknamed "Killer Mountain", when they got stuck at 7,400m (24,280ft) on Friday.

An elite Polish climbing team on nearby K2 came to the rescue, scaling Nanga Parbat overnight to rescue Ms Revol.

"Elisabeth is in the hospital in Islamabad. She has severe frostbite on her hands and feet," Ludovic Giambiasi, a friend of Ms Revol, wrote in a post on Facebook on Sunday.

How was the rescue operation carried out?

Four members of the Polish team, who had been attempting the first winter ascent of K2 - the second highest mountain in the world - were brought to Nanga Parbat by a Pakistani military helicopter.

They were dropped off more than 1,000 metres below the lost climbers' last known location.

Image copyright AFP PHOTO/JASMINE TOURS
Image caption Polish climbers prepare for a rescue mission on Nanga Parbat

Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki then began the climb in complete darkness, while Jaroslaw Botor and Piotr Tomala established a camp.

After reaching Ms Revol, the team descended back to the camp - a treacherous journey that lasted about five-and-a-half hours.

In the early hours of Sunday local time, the climbing team's Facebook page announced: "Elisabeth Revol found!"

Ms Revol was then taken to hospital by helicopter.

Why was the search for Tomasz Mackiewicz called off?

Mr Mackiewicz had been separated from Ms Revol. Earlier reports said that he had been suffering from frostbite and snow blindness.

"The rescue for Tomasz is unfortunately not possible," Mr Giambiasi wrote. "Because of the weather and altitude it would put the life of rescuers in extreme danger.

"It's a terrible and painful decision. We are in deep sadness. All our thoughts go out to Tomek's family and friends. We are crying."

Image copyright Getty Images

A crowdfunding campaign to pay for the rescue attempt had raised tens of thousands of dollars by the time the news of Ms Revol's safety emerged.

Masha Gordon, who set up the crowdfunding campaign, posted an update to the 4,000 supporters: "We are crying from happiness."

The 8,126m Nanga Parbat, in northern Pakistan, is the world's ninth highest mountain.

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Mountaineers nicknamed it "Killer Mountain" after more than 30 climbers died trying to conquer it before the first successful summit in 1953.

Last year, a Spaniard and an Argentinean were presumed dead in an avalanche after they went missing trying to scale the peak.

In 2013, gunmen killed 10 foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide at the Nanga Parbat base camp.

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