(This June 27 story corrects spelling of last names of climbers)
By Saad Sayeed
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - One Spanish man and an Argentinian have gone missing on a notoriously treacherous peak in northern Pakistan known among mountaineers as “Killer Mountain”, officials said on Tuesday.
Alberto Zerain Berasategi from Spain and Mariano Galvan from Argentina were last heard from on Saturday when their party was climbing Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain, Karrar Haidri, spokesman for the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said.
“They went to the high camp and we have not been able to contact them since,” the head of tourism for Gilgit-Baltistan region, Iqbal Hussain, said.
He said authorities hoped to begin a helicopter search on Wednesday.
Pakistan rivals Nepal for the number of peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) and is home to the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, as well as three others which are among the world’s 14 summits higher than 8,000 metres.
Nanga Parbat, 8,126 metres high, was the scene of an attack in 2013, when gunmen dressed as police officers shot 10 foreign mountaineers and a local guide at the 4,200-metre base camp.
The killings were claimed by both the Pakistani Taliban and a smaller group of Islamist militants.
Since that attack, the number of expeditions has dwindled, wrecking communities dependent on climbing tourism for income and depriving Pakistan’s economy of much-needed dollars.
Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Louise Ireland