Body of British climber Tom Ballard found in Pakistan after Nanga Parbat search - 24 years after mother's death on K2

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter James Webster

Rescuers have found the bodies of two climbers missing for almost a fortnight on a mountain in Pakistan, the Italian ambassador has said.

Tom Ballard, whose mother died on K2, was climbing Nanga Parbat with Italian Daniele Nardi when they lost contact on February 24.

A search operation was under way this week after four Spanish rescuers were flown to the area by military helicopter on Monday and were joined by Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara at base camp.

Tom Ballard with his mother Alison Hargreaves and sister Kate. Credit: Chris Bacon/PA

Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo said that the search team has confirmed that silhouettes spotted on the mountain were the bodies of Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi and that the search is over.

He tweeted: "With great sadness I inform that the search for @NardiDaniele and Tom Ballard is over as @AlexTxikon and the search team have confirmed that the silhouettes spotted on Mummery at about 5900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P."

He said that the bodies are in a place that is difficult to reach but that everything possible will be done to try and recover them.

Mr Ballard was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995, the year his mother, Alison Hargreaves, died on K2 when she was 33, months after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.

Despite being dubbed "Killer Mountain" because of its dangerous conditions, the summit of Nanga Parbat has long drawn climbers.

The pair were climbing Nanga Parbat. Credit: PA

Located in Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan area, it is the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 feet).

Mr Nardi and Mr Ballard set out on the climb on February 22, making it to the fourth base camp by the following day.

The pair last made contact on February 24 from an elevation of around 6,300 meters (nearly 20,700 feet) on Nanga Parbat.

Pakistan dispatched search helicopters last week despite the closure of its airspace amid tensions with neighbouring India over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Mr Pontecorvo said that the search team involving the Spaniards this week captured photos of the silhouettes and analysis confirmed that they were the missing climbers.

Mr Nardi, 42, from near Rome, had attempted the Nanga Parbat summit in winter several times in the past.

In 2015 Mr Ballard became the first person ever to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.