(By Markian Hawryluk) Canadian climber Gabriel Filippi can't help but think about what might have been.
Filippli left the Nanga Parbat International team expedition on Friday (June 21), only a day before at least 11 climbers were gunned downed by terrorists in Base Camp; one of them his team mate for Nanga and K2, Ernestas Marksaitis. Gabriel traveled non-stop for 23 hours to catch a plane out of Islamabad on Sunday.
“I got the terrible news as I disembarked the plane in Montreal Sunday afteroon,” Filippi said in a statement to ExplorersWeb. “I can only be grateful to be alive today and reunited with my family and friends. I am okay considering the circumstances of this tragedy. Losing 10 friends at once is not an easy situation to deal with."
Among those killed by the attack, was Lithuanian climber Ernestas Marksaitis, with whom Filippi had planned to climb K2 this year. According to the team's Facebook page, all other climbers were in Camp 2 during the midnight attack. The expedition was called off after the attack and all members of the expedition have arrived safely in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“I am living this tragic moment in solidarity with my climbing partners who witnesses the bloodshed left by the Taliban as they came back to Base Camp and now returning home dealing with this horrific situation on a personal level,” Filippi said. “Also by doing so, I am paying tribute and respect to the fallen climbers, my climbing partner Ernestas (for Nanga and K2) and other ones whom I come to know and became friends (with) during this expedition. My thoughts and prayers are going to the family and friends of the lost ones.”
Latest news (June 24th) about Gabriel's team mates as reported on FB by Daniel Piskorz from their home team in Poland, "Alexandra Dzik [leader] reported that all members of the expedition are staying in Islamabad. They are safe. Unfortunately, one member of the expedition was murdered, Ernest Marksaitis from Lithuania. On this day, has been brutally murdered 11 people. Alexandra, with other members are waiting for the caravan with their baggage, which can take several days. International Nanga Parbat Expedition 2013 is finished."
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