Five Porters Drown in Stream

Source: PakTribune

SKARDU, PAKISTAN June 29: Five local porters including two brothers serving the Italian mountaineers Monday drowned in a stream. The ill-fated porters were trying to cross the stream and fell prey to spate of water. The divers were trying to recover their bodies. The hapless porters were with the Italian team, which was on its way to scale K-2. The porters leading the team fell into the water while crossing the Sang Sang Choo stream and mountaineers could do nothing to save their porters.

The killed porters were identified as Sher Muhammad, Nazir, Jaffar, Hassan and Noor.

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Greg Mortenson of Central Asia Institute (www.ikat.org) comments:

“Very few climbers and trekkers visited the Pakistan Karakoram in 2002 and 2003, after 9/11. However, this year, there has been a tremendous surge in activity in the Baltoro K2 treks and Karakoram expeditions (over 50 expeditions this year, from a low of 24 in 2002 vs. high of 72 in 2001 (before 9/11).

This being the K2 fifty year anniversary of the first Italian ascent, has also encouraged more foreigners to visit Pakistan. While the economic benefits are obvious, the rash of influx of climbers and trekkers has also caused a shortage of porters, for which porters are being paid up to Pakistani Rupees 5,000 (US $58 per PK Rupee) to carry loads from Askole to Concordia.

Many unexperienced and young porters have taken to carrying loads this year, and exploitation of porters due to the high demand has been extensive. In addition to this tragic incident, there has been an excess of injuries and mishaps. These porters were pushed to walk in the late evening and night, at which time the glacier melt in the rivers is highest and most dangerous to cross. Please put this on your websites and forward to media contacts.”

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