Polish climbers ascend Pakistan’s “Killer Mountain” to rescue French woman, Pole

Polish climber Tomasz Mackiewicz during his trip on Nanga Parbat mountain in Pakistan Jan. 2014.(Reuters)
Updated 27 January 2018

Polish climbers ascend Pakistan’s “Killer Mountain” to rescue French woman, Pole

ISLAMABAD: Elite Polish climbers were on Saturday ascending Pakistan’s treacherous “Killer Mountain” in the dark to save a French woman mountaineer and a fellow Pole, officials said, hoping the daring effort could see them reach the French climber on Sunday.
Military helicopters buzzing over the 8,126 meter (26,660 feet) Nanga Parbat mountain spotted Elisabeth Revol of France at about 6,700m mark during daylight hours, a Pakistani official said, but were unable to communicate with Tomasz Mackiewicz from Poland, who is believed to be in a crevasse.
After abandoning their ascent at about 7,400m on Pakistan’s second highest mountain, Revol on Friday helped Mackiewicz, who is suffering from frostbite and snow blindness, come down to 7,280 meters and set him up in a tent to spend the night, before descending and calling for help on a satellite phone.
The race against time effort will continue into the night after Pakistan’s military picked up several Polish climbers attempting the first winter ascent of nearby K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, and flew them to Nanga Parbat on Saturday to lead the rescue.
Brig. Shahid Sardar, a representative of military-owned Askari Aviation, told Reuters that Revol was spotted near Nanga Parbat’s Base Camp 2, while the Polish rescue team had been dropped off at Base Camp 1.
“We are hoping they will reach the French lady by tomorrow, but there is no contact with the Polish climber. It is a very complex rescue operation,” Sardar said.
“We should know by mid-day tomorrow.”
Masha Gordon, who is coordinating a crowdfunding campaign to finance the helicopter rescue, said Polish climbers — including elite mountaineers Adam Bielicki and Denis Urubko — were dropped off at Base Camp 1 at 4,800m and had begun their ascent.
“They have a tracker on them and have last been seen at 5,225m. They will continue climbing up through the night,” Gordon posted on the GoFundMe rescue page, which showed 74,000 euros ($92,000) had been raised by Saturday.
The campaign is aiming to raise 100,000 euros, while the Polish government said it would provide financial guarantees and support for the operation.
Revol knows Mackiewicz’s location high up on Nanga Parbat, where in winter perceived temperatures can reach minus 60 degrees Celsius.
“Elisabeth took a decision to start a descent down from 6,700m toward them provided she can find fixed ropes,” Gordon added. “She has no battery power left. We believe in the strength of her spirit.”
Pakistan’s military said two Pakistan Army helicopters carrying four rescuers were undertaking the mission.
Pakistan rivals Nepal for the number of peaks over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) and is considered climbers’ paradise, but fatalities are also common.
Nanga Parbat obtained its “Killer Mountain” moniker due to the high number of lives it has claimed over the years. In June a Spanish man and an Argentinian perished in an avalanche while trying to scale its peak.
The first successful winter ascent of the mountain was made as recently as February 2016. Mackiewicz has made six previous attempts to scale Nanga Parbat in winter.


World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

Updated 25 February 2020

World’s oldest man dies in Japan at 112

  • Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home
  • The news came less than two weeks after Watanabe was officially recognized by Guinness World Records

TOKYO: A Japanese man recently named the world’s oldest living male has died aged 112, a local official said Tuesday.

Chitetsu Watanabe, who was born on March 5, 1907 in Niigata, north of Tokyo, died on Sunday at his nursing home in the same prefecture, the official said.

The news came less than two weeks after he was officially recognized by Guinness World Records.

Watanabe, who had five children, said the secret to longevity was to “not get angry and keep a smile on your face.”

He admitted a penchant for sweets such as custard pudding and ice cream.

The oldest man in Japan is now Issaku Tomoe, who is 110 years old, according to Jiji Press, although it was not clear if Tomoe holds the title globally.

The oldest living person is also Japanese, Kane Tanaka, a 117-year-old woman.

Japan has one of the world’s highest life expectancies and has been home to several people recognized as among the oldest humans to have ever lived.

They include Jiroemon Kimura, the longest-living man on record, who died soon after his 116th birthday in June 2013.

The oldest verified person — Jeanne Louise Calment of France — died in 1997 at the age of 122, according to Guinness.