A Pakistani army helicopter rescued on Tuesday four Italianand two Pakistani climbers stranded at an altitude of around 5,300 meters(17,390 feet) in the country's north, after an avalanche struck the team theprevious day, a mountaineering worker said. A Pakistani member of the team waskilled.
The expedition was hit while descending a peak in theIshkoman Valley, located in the northern district of Ghizar.
Karrar Haidri, head of Pakistan's Alpine Club, told TheAssociated Press that the six surviving climbers were taken to a hospital inthe nearby town of Gilgit for the treatment of injuries.
"Sadly, one Pakistani mountaineer was killed, but sixother members of the expedition are being treated at a hospital," he said.
"A Pakistan army helicopter was used for thiscomplicated but successful rescue operation, despite the fact that the strandedmountaineers were present at an altitude of around 5,300 meters," headded.
Ashraf Aman, a Pakistani tour operator who arranged theexpedition, confirmed that Pakistan's military had dispatched the helicopterearlier on Tuesday morning to rescue the climbers.
He said the body of the Pakistani mountaineer, MohammadImtiaz, would be brought down later.
Aman said none of the surviving team had life threateninginjuries. The four Italian climbers involved are expedition leader TarcisioBellò, Luca Morellato, David Bergamin and Tino Toldo.
In a separate incident on Monday, two Chinese mountaineerswere reported missing in another area in northern Pakistan, said Haidri. Hesaid a rescue mission was planned to find them.
Mountaineers from across the world travel to Pakistan everyyear to try scaling its high northern mountains. Harsh weather and conditionsoften prove a test for the most experienced of climbers.
Earlier this year, two European climbers —Italian DanieleNardi and Briton Tom Ballard — were killed during bad winter weather on NangaParbat, which is the world's ninth-tallest mountain at 8,126 meters (26,660feet).
Nardi, from near Rome, had attempted to scale the peak inwinter several times. Ballard's disappearance hit his homeland particularlyhard as he is the son of Alison Hargreaves, the first woman to scale MountEverest alone. She died at age 33 descending the summit of K2.