RAF officer plunges 3000ft to his death in Himalayas as guide reveals how veteran ‘disappeared without even crying out' | The Sun
AN RAF hero plunged headfirst 3,300ft while climbing in the Himalayas as he disappeared over the edge "without even crying out".
Wing Commander Gordon Henderson lost his balance and fell to his death while climbing in the Karakoram mountains which border Pakistan and China.
Afghanistan veteran Henderson, a dad-of-two, was taking part in a British Services Mountaineering Expedition to climb 26,414ft Broad Peak.
It is the 12th highest mountain in the world.
Italian mountain guide Francois Cazzanelli has now described how he witnessed Henderson's horrifying fall on July 19.
The climber said that he and Henderson, from Dunfermline in Fife, were just 39ft from the summit when the tragedy struck.
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He described how Henderson prepared to move towards the peak when he knocked his rucksack against a rock, which caused him to lose his balance and plunge to his death.
Cazzanelli said he gave a nod to the RAF officer – signaling he could go first as the duo prepared to reach the top of the mountain.
And then all of sudden, the guide witnessed the airman disappear off the edge "without even crying out".
He said: "He had a rucksack on his back, just as I did. He turned, preparing to start climbing.
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"He took one step but his rucksack bashed against the rock face.
"He lost his balance and he was spun forward. He slid for just a moment, then he fell head first."
Cazzanelli told La Stampa: "He disappeared without even crying out. I was speechless, rooted to the spot."
The guide said he was so shocked that he was stuck "immobile" on the edge of the mountain.
He then frantically turned back and descended down to the nearest camp to alert Henderson's colleagues.
Cazzanelli said: "They showed me a photo to check that the man I saw fall was really him. It was Gordon."
The RAF said in a statement it was "deeply saddened" by the death of Henderson.
“Our thoughts are with Wing Commander Henderson’s family, friends and colleagues at this dreadful time," the serviced said.
In a statement, the RAF Mountaineering Association said: "[We] are 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.”
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