Italian K2 survivor 'happy to be alive'
Italian survivor of the K2 tragedy speaks of his relief at being alive, after the mountain claimed 11 lives.6 August 2008
ROME - An Italian climber who survived an avalanche that killed 11 people near the Himalayan summit of K2 mountain in Pakistan has spoken of his relief to be alive, an Italian news agency report said Tuesday.
"I am happy to be alive. I realise that they are all dead and that only three of us survived," Marco Confortola told Agostino Da Polenza, an Italy-based member of his climbing team.
"I am happy to have gone to the summit of K2, it is something that I've always dreamed of," he was quoting as saying by the ANSA news agency.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a French climber who died in the avalanche on the world's second-highest mountain managed to communicate with his friend and sponsor before his death.
Patrick Bezier told AFP that climber Hugues D'Aubarede, 61, told him: "I am very cold, I am very happy. I am very grateful and I am anxious to thank you."
Confortola made it back to his advanced base camp at 5,400 metres on Tuesday. He was expected to remain there until Wednesday in order to be evacuated by helicopter, added Da Polenza who has been coordinating the rescue operation with the Pakistani authorities.
Confortola, who lost his telephone in the avalanche, was able to communicate on Monday for the first time with his base camp.
The climber is suffering from severe frostbite but made it down from the K2 summit with the help of porters and climbers.
"My hands are in a quite good state while my feet are black because they are frozen. But I have been able to walk," he said.
Confortola, 37, was the final survivor to come back from last Friday's catastrophic accident. Two Dutch climbers were airlifted off K2 on Monday and are in a Pakistani military hospital.
[AFP / Expatica]