The bodies of a missing British man and his Italian climbing partner have been found by rescuers on a mountain in Pakistan.
Tom Ballard, 30, from Derbyshire, and Daniele Nardi, 42, from near Rome, were reported missing on Nanga Parbat, nicknamed killer mountain, more than a week ago.
The pair had set off on the third stage of their expedition of the world’s ninth-highest mountain on 22 February – and last made contact two days later while at about 6,300 metres (20,700ft).
Earlier, Alex Txikon, who was leading the Spanish-Pakistani search team, reported spotting “two shapes” on the Mummery Spur that Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi had taken.
Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian ambassador to Pakistan, later said the team had confirmed the silhouettes on the mountain were the bodies of the missing climbers.
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 5,900 meters are those of Daniele and Tom. R.I.P.”
Mr Pontecorvo said the bodies had been located in a place that was difficult to reach but everything was being done to recover them.
Military helicopters were used to fly the group of rescuers – including a physician – up the mountain to search for Mr Ballard and Mr Nardi.
The pair had been accompanied by two Pakistani mountaineers, but they turned back because they thought the bad weather was too dangerous.
Mr Ballard had been documenting his efforts on Instagram before going missing.
He and Mr Nardi reached the first camp at 15,400ft (4,700m) on 7 January and the second camp at 17,000ft (5,200m) just over three weeks later.
Mr Ballard moved to the Scottish Highlands in 1995. That same year, his mother Alison Hargreaves died on K2 when she was 33 – just months after becoming the first woman to conquer Everest unaided.
The adventurer has been dedicated to climbing some of the toughest mountains in the world since the death of his mother.
Mr Ballard became the first person to solo climb all six major north faces of the Alps in one winter.
Mr Nardi had attempted the Nanga Parbat summit in winter several times in the past.
His team said they were “heartbroken” in a tribute on their official Facebook page.
They wrote: “We’re heartbroken; we inform you that the research of Daniele and Tom has ended. A part of them will always remain on the Nanga Parbat.”
They added: “The family remembers Tom as a competent alpinist and brave friend of Daniele. Our thoughts are with him.
“Daniele will remain a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a friend lost for a dream that we have always accepted, respected and shared.
“We like to remember how you really are: in love with life, adventurous, scrupulous, courageous, loyal, attentive to detail and always present in times of need.”