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New Zealand climbers declared dead after avalanche on K-2

GILGIT, Pakistan, July 29 (UPI) -- Two climbers missing three days in Pakistan while attempting to scale the world's second-tallest mountain were declared dead Monday by their tour operators.

Martin Walter Schmidt and his son, Denali Walter Schmidt, 25, both of New Zealand, disappeared after an avalanche reportedly hit their camp on K-2, The Express Tribune reported.

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The tour operator said porters ascending to the camp, which was at an elevation of 24,200 feet, found ice axes and crampons scattered on the ground Sunday.

The climbers' tent also had been damaged and showed signs of being struck by an avalanche.

"Regrettably, we have no option but to presume them dead," said Sher Ali, manager of Blue Sky Expeditions, which had organized the climb.

The Schmidts had started up the mountain July 24 and hoped to reach the summit by Sunday.

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