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Rescue chopper returns without sighting missing S. Korean mountaineer

South Korean mountaineer Kim Hong-bin (Yonhap)
South Korean mountaineer Kim Hong-bin (Yonhap)
A rescue helicopter that was sent to search for a missing South Korean mountaineer in the Himalayas returned to a base camp Sunday with no sighting of the man, officials said.

Kim Hong-bin, who lost all his fingers to frostbite about 30 years ago, reached the summit of the 8,047-meter-high Broad Peak located in the Karakoram Range on the Pakistani-Chinese border last Sunday, becoming the world's first disabled person to ascend all 14 eight-thousanders in the Himalayas.

During his descent, however, Kim got lost and sent a distress signal Monday morning. Nearby Russian climbers tried to rescue him but a rope broke, sending him deeper into the ground.

A rescue helicopter left a base camp at 1:49 p.m. (Korea time) Sunday and headed to the area where Kim went missing, carrying one of the Russian climbers who was involved in the earlier rescue effort, according to city officials in the southwestern city of Gwangju.

The helicopter made six rounds in the area that is 7,400 meters above sea level but returned at 3:05 p.m. without finding Kim.

People at the base camp will examine video footage that was taken from the helicopter, the officials said.

Pakistani and Chinese rescue personnel and helicopters have been aiding the rescue effort since Saturday. (Yonhap)