Tom Ballard: More delays in search for missing climber

Tom Ballard Image copyright Montane
Image caption Tom Ballard's sponsor Montane said they were not giving up hope

The search for a British climber who went missing on a peak in Pakistan has suffered another setback due to bad weather.

Tom Ballard and Italian climber Daniele Nardi last made contact on Sunday from an altitude of about 20,500ft (6,250m) on Nanga Parbat.

Snow, cloud and poor visibility has meant a helicopter team and high altitude drones cannot fly as planned.

Rescue attempts started late due to tensions between Pakistan and India.

Mr Ballard, originally from Derbyshire, is the son of Alison Hargreaves, who died descending from the summit of K2 in 1995 - the same year she became the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.

On Friday, three drones were due to be flown by Spanish mountaineer Alex Txikon, in an area known as the Mummery Spur, named after Albert Mummery, who died on the mountain in 1895.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tom Ballard's mother Alison Hargreaves on her descent from the top of Mount Everest, which she reached in 1995

The search was postponed until Saturday with Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador in Pakistan, saying he hoped for a "miracle" to find "tough guys" Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi.

Pilots had been on standby since 05:30 local time, according to Mr Nardi's Facebook page, but rescuers have been left frustrated.

Mr Pontecorvo tweeted that "weather conditions today [Saturday] do not allow the planned search and rescue op".

He added that conditions on Sunday "should be better".

The 30-year-old climber moved to Scotland in 1995 with his sister Kate and grew up in Fort William in Lochaber.

The search only began on Thursday due to airspace restrictions following the tensions between Pakistan and India.

A three-person tent "invaded by snow" and "traces of an avalanche" were spotted by mountaineer Ali Sadpara, on board a Pakistani army helicopter, on the same day.

However, it is not known if the tent belonged to the missing climbers.

Nanga Parbat is the world's ninth highest mountain and a number of deaths have earned it the nickname of "killer mountain".

Image copyright Pakistan Embassy

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was in contact with Pakistani authorities regarding Mr Ballard's disappearance.

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