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'No hope' for missing mountaineers, says team leader

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 08.03.2013 10:40
There is no longer any hope of saving two missing mountaineers on Broad Peak, the leader of a Polish expedition to the Karakoram range has said.

Maciej Berbeka, one of the missing climbers: photo - PAP/Adam Bielecki

“Based on my experience, there is no chance,” said Krzysztof Wielicki in an interview with the RMF radio station.

“It is tough, very tough,” he reflected, confirming that the remaining members of the expedition will descend the mountain this afternoon.

On Tuesday, Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski were among four Poles who managed to scale Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world, in what was the first ever winter ascent of the fabled site on the border of China and Pakistan.

Two of the climbers, Adam Bielecki and Artur Malek, descended to one of the team's bases on Tuesday night, but Berbeka and Kowalski did not manage to do so.

The team will stay put until this afternoon as weather conditions are still fair, but they will then descend to the foot of the mountain.

Tents will be left standing at three of the bases on the mountain, in case of any unexpected development.

The last contact with one of the missing climbers was at 6.30 am local time on Wednesday morning.

Tomasz Kowalski told Wielicki that he was losing the strength to continue.

“He stopped at a certain point and did not want to go any further,” Wielicki said.

“His last words were that he would try, 'but I'm afraid that I will fall.'” (nh)

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