South Korean climber feared dead after historic Pakistan summit

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South Korean climber Kim Hong-Bin (2nd right) along with team members hold bouquets at the airport in Islamabad on June 16, 2021.
Image Credit: via REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: A South Korean climber was feared dead on Tuesday just days after becoming the first disabled person to climb all 14 of the world’s highest mountains, officials in Pakistan said.

Kim Hong-bin went missing Monday after falling into a crevasse while descending from the 8,051-metre (26,414-foot) Broad Peak, in the Karakoram range, Karrar Haidri, of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, told AFP.

Broad Peak is the 12th highest of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains.

Haidri said when Bin reached the top of Broad Peak on Sunday, he joined the exclusive club of top climbers who have summited all 14, becoming the 44th person to achieve the feat.

But coming down, he fell “towards the China side”, Haidri added.

He said Kim was the first disabled climber to join the so-called “eight-thousander club”, having lost all his fingers during a climb of Mount Denali in Alaska in 1991.

Sifat Khan, a senior government official told AFP there was little chance Kim could survive for long in the harsh conditions on the mountain.

“He’s believed to be dead. No human being could survive for that long,” Khan said.

“Kim was descending when he slipped and fell down in the crevasse – most probably to the Chinese side.”

Kim was a part of an organised expedition with porters and tourist police, Khan said adding a search operation would be launched as soon as the weather allowed.

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