Helicopter search launched for missing Derbyshire born mountaineer

Tom Ballard to attempt K2
Tom Ballard to attempt K2

A rescue helicopter has been sent to search for a Belper born climber reported missing on the world’s ninth highest mountain.

Tom Ballard and Italian climber Daniele Nardi are trying to reach the summit of Nanga Parbat - nicknamed “Killer Mountain”.

The last contact from the pair is said to have been on Sunday, from an altitude of about 6,300m (20,669 ft).

Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador in Pakistan, tweeted on Thursday morning: “Rescue helicopter to search for Daniele Nardi and Tom Ballard is flying and approaching area of Nanga Parbat where they could be. Ali Sadpara is on board. Weather still conducive to search. Praying for a speedy and positive outcome. Thank you to Pak Army for assistance.”

Nanga Parbat, dubbed “Killer Mountain” after the deaths of several climbers there is the world’s ninth highest mountain.

It has been reported that weather was poor in the area at the time.

A experienced climber, Tom became first person to solo climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps in the winter season.

Tom’s mother, Alison Hargreaves, was killed on the K2 mountain in 1995, aged 33.

On the descent, 200mph gusts blew Alison and six companions off the Abruzzi Ridge at 8,000m, causing them to fall 1,800m to their deaths.

Her body has never been found.