Scottish airman missing on mountain expedition in Pakistan presumed dead

A Scots airman who went missing on a mountain expedition in Pakistan is believed to have died.

By Alison Campsie
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 7:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 7:08 pm

Wing Commander Gordon Henderson, from Dunfermline in Fife, vanished on Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world, on July 19.

The mountaineer, an extremely experienced climber, was taking part in the British Services Mountaineering Expedition to Broad Peak, which sits close to the Chinese border around five miles from K2, when he ran into difficulty.

The RAF said it was now believed the Scot died on the mountain.

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A statement said: “The Royal Air Force is deeply saddened to announce that Wing Commander Gordon Henderson is missing, believed killed, on Broad Peak Mountain in Pakistan.

"Wing Commander Henderson went missing on July 19, 2022, whilst participating in the British Services Mountaineering Expedition.

"Our thoughts are with Wing Commander Henderson’s family, friends and colleagues at this dreadful time.

Wing Commander Gordon Henderson, originally from Dunfermline, is believed to have died on a mountaineering expedition to Broad Peak, Pakistan. PIC: RAF.

"We would remind you that further speculation is unhelpful, and we ask that the family’s privacy is respected.”

Wing Commander Henderson, who studied at Heriot-Watt University and served in Afghanistan, is survived by his wife Kerry and two young children, with the family also understood to have links to San Antonio in Texas.

Details of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the airman, who was well regarded in Scottish mountaineering circles, have not been released as an investigation gets underway.

The British Services Mountaineering Expedition’s Pakistan 2022 mission was due to travel “the length of the infamous Baltoro Glacier” before visiting the Broad Peak and K2 base camps and ascending the Gondogoro La pass at 5,600m.

​Following a period of acclimatisation, the team, which included members of the Pakistani Armed Forces, was due to focus on the main ascent of Broad Peak, which sits at 8,051m.

A fatality was recorded on Broad Peak on July 5 when Sharif Sadpara, an experienced local climber and high-altitude porter for the UK-based expedition company Impact Ascents, died in what has been described as a freak accident in atrocious weather.

A statement from the RAF Mountaineering Association said: “RAF Mountaineering is deeply saddened to announce that Wing Commander Gordon Henderson is reported missing, believed killed, on Broad Peak, Pakistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”