Monday Aug 15, 2022
Monday Aug 15, 2022

Helicopter rescue & the Nepali mountaineering scene


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 10, 11:00, Kathmandu
Helicopter rescue

As the mountaineering, hiking, and trekking season returns to gaining popularity after the years of lockdown and quarantine. People from all around the world are grabbing their chance for the amazing and adventurous experience to add colors to their bland life.

According to the statistics published by the Department of Tourism in 2020 that 171,937 persons among that total number of tourists who visited Nepal came for mountaineering and trekking purposes. 

According to Mr. Khum Bahadur Subedi, President of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, “In 2021, as many as 34,000 foreigners visited Nepal for trekking purposes, for higher than 2020.” 

There are two sides to every coin, while on the outside the idea of adventure sports seems adrenaline pumping and amazing, there is always risk one carries with performing these activities. The high chances of getting lost, injured, contracting health complications, or simply falling to drastic weather changes are some of the reasons why people have to think twice before packing their bags and leaving their comfort zone. However, thanks to the rescue service provided by different helicopter service team the likelihood of being saved if one ever finds themselves on thin ice up in the mountains are exponential, inspiring great trust and courage amongst mountaineers.

According to Mr. Hari Dharel, President of Himalayan Rescue Association of Nepal, They have been giving service in different parts of the country and he is actively engaged with the association for the past 30 years. Their main focus is giving medical services rather than rescuing. Because of having many professional guides and most of the people who come for trekking and mountaineering are professionals, there are less number of people who need rescuing, and if the cases are severe they contact the hospitals or travel agencies (they are related to) and also connect to the companies who provide helicopter rescue service. The main goal is to treat the people and minimize unwanted rescuing services. 

Source: Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal
Source: Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal
Source: Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal
Source: Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal

Mr. Phurba Sherpa, Managing Director of Heli Everest Airlines has been active in service for the past 5 years all over the nation. He said that over the past year they have saved numerous people from the different areas and have reached up to 6000 meters (19685.04 ft) above to rescue the people. In Nepal, there is less weather forecasting radar, many unidentified locations, and the different request permits they have to take from different authorities are the reasons why they are having problems while going out for rescuing. 

Source: Heli Everest
Source: Heli Everest

Against all the odds even though they go for the rescuing because of the inconsistent weather report they have to delay their service and sometimes they have to wait for days to reach the proper locations. He pointed out that if the Nepal government set different weather forecasting radars in needed parts of the regions and the need to get different permits from different authorities can come down to just one can help them to make their work a lot easier. 

Source: Heli Everest
Source: Heli Everest

In Conversation with Captain Bibek Khadka, who has been involved in this profession for the past 19 years. He has also played part in the world-famous documentary “14 Peaks” and rescued many people from different base camps in Nepal. The highest elevation he has reached to rescue is about 6500 meters (21325.46 ft) above where he rescued a Malaysian climber. He says that one of the main problems that he has faced during his career, apart from the weather, is landing because of a smaller number of helipads in many regions of Nepal, mainly in the Himalayan area, and also the different permission permits he has to receive to retrieve the people. He also says that many people are not familiar with helicopters and their functions, so because they hesitate to approach them, it is also hard for them to perform even the small task to open and close the door. He also added that if the local people and authorities will take a look at helicopter rescue in a positive aspect and give them all the encouragement and necessary permission they need, it might help captains like him work without many obstacles. Further, he adds that Tourism is taking its actual place as the main source of the economic development, where people from different parts of the world come for travel, trekking, and mountaineering and we must all support it after the huge backlash we faced because of COVID.

Souce: Simrik Airlines
Souce: Simrik Airlines

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