Islamabad (AP) — A famous South Korean mountaineer fell to a crevasse and went missing on the weekend due to bad weather after scaling another peak in northern Pakistan, mountaineering officials said Tuesday.
Karar Haidri, secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club, said Kim Hong-bin was descending after reaching a 8,047-meter (26,400-foot) high Broad Peak in the northern Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan on Sunday.
At the summit, 57-year-old Kim expanded all 14 of the world’s tallest summits and became the first person with a disability. In 1991, while climbing Alaska, he suffered severe frostbite and amputated all his fingers.
According to Hydori, Kim slipped down to the Chinese side of the mountain while descending from the summit with several other climbers on Sunday.
“No information about him has been available since then,” officials said, adding that a search mission was planned.
In Seoul, the Foreign Ministry said Pakistan had promised to send a helicopter to find Kim as soon as weather conditions allowed it to fly. Spokesman Choe Yeong said China also agreed to make an effort to find climbers.
President Moon Jae-in has previously sent a message congratulating General Secretary Kim on expanding the scale of the 14 summits, the highest in the world, but said he would pray for Kim’s safe return.
“There are some reports of speculation about his death, but the information isn’t clear and I haven’t given up hope,” Moon tweeted. “I sincerely wait for the news that he has returned home safely with my people.”
Kim’s success includes the world’s highest mountain, Everest, on the border between China and Nepal, and K2, the second highest Pakistan in the Karakoram Mountains, like Broad Peak. According to Hydori, the disability did not pose a hurdle for Kim and did not interfere with his passion.
The other climbers who tried to find Kim in vain were safe and got off in bad weather. He added that the Korean embassy in Islamabad also organized a search mission.
“I don’t want to guess” about Kim’s fate, Hydori told The Associated Press and refused to comment on Twitter’s report that the climber had died.
Gram Muhammad, the owner of the Blue Sky expedition tour operator company that arranged Kim’s expedition, also confirmed the “unfortunate incident” when the Koreans returned to the base camp.
The organizer of the expedition contacted the missing Korean family, he added, and further information would be shared by his family or Korean authorities.
Every year, dozens of mountaineers visit Pakistan to climb various mountains and peaks located in the scenic north of the country. However, sports are dangerous, especially in the event of sudden changes in the weather.
Earlier this year, three climbers, Pakistani climber Ali Sadopara, Iceland’s John Sunori, and Chile’s Juan Pablo Mall, died trying to climb an 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) K2. It was. Despite several attempts by a military-backed Pakistani search and rescue team, their bodies could not be tracked and recovered.
Associated Press writer Kim Hyunjin in Seoul, South Korea contributed to this report.