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/ ARTICLE: Helicopter Rescue in Pakistan - The Past, Present & Future

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UKC Articles - on 29 Aug 2018
The helicopter approaches Bruce Normand and Tim Miller's high altitude helipad., 3 kbIt has been a record-breaking season for helicopter rescues in Pakistan, with four recent high profile rescues making headlines in both climbing and mainstream media - three of which broke records for flight duration, landing altitude and fixed-line recovery height. An unprecedented 38% of expeditions in Pakistan called for evacuation this season.

Despite the recent demonstrations of bravery and skill of the Pakistani pilots, there unfortunately remain misconceptions regarding their operations and efficiency due to long-held prejudices and misreporting in the media. We got in touch with some experts on the situation to find out the ground truth - so to speak - and put these recent rescues into perspective.

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Pkrynicki1984 - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

I found this very interesting , a great article thanks.

 

 

Roberttaylor - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

An excellent article on an interesting subject.

Full respect to Brice Normand for paying the difference.

 

profitofdoom on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article, and useful, thanks

(I do not want to detract from the feat mentioned in the article, but the rescue in June seems not "the highest helicopter landing in history" - that would be the one on Everest summit in June 2005: the pilot stayed there for nearly 4 minutes then lifted off again)

Will_he_fall - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article, one of the best pieces of mountain journalism I've read in a while.

Damo on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent article, well done Natalie and UKC for going into this.

A few points:

1. "..This rescue was the highest ever helicopter landing, at 5900m" - I assume you meant to add "...in Pakistan"? As there have been countless landings now at C2 in Everest's Western Cwm above 6000m.

2. "The entire bill for Revol's rescue was eventually paid through a crowdfunding appeal..." - I understood it that this appeal, launched by Masha Gordon, did raise a lot of money but the Polish government footed the bill for the rescue in the end and the crowdfunded money was divided up between Tomas' children.

3. It would have been good to cover the US company Global Rescue, to help climbers understand what they will and won't do.

4. "The ease of communications and access for clueless people is becoming problematic..." Loving the typically Bruce comments

It's disgusting that 'climbers' - are so incompetent, lazy and selfish that they'd want a ride out of the Baltoro cos they don't want to walk out. This crap costs us all, as the article rightly implies, either in making insurance cost more, or harder to get, or making rescues more unlikely. This bullshit has arisen out of the execrable developments on Everest and in the corrupt Nepal scene, which itself is rightly being brought to heel, mainly due to Western insurance companies realising they were being ripped off. The climbing media needs to start calling out more of these dodgy practices that have become part of commercial 'climbing' in the Himalaya, and now Karakoram. The more we tolerate it, the worse it gets.

cdpej on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to Damo:

Hi Damo.  Can you expand on your Global rescue comment?  I have never used them but what they offer and the price looks attractive

Andrew Sandercock - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

A quality article. 

nufkin - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

> '...France is not currently at war with Italy...'

Couldn't help but add the italics in my head as I was reading

Misha - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, thanks.

"Unlike in parts of the European Alps where rescue is free (excluding treatment or airlift due to injury) such as across the Mont Blanc Massif" - off topic but is airlift due to injury charged for in France?

Mick Fowler - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

38% of teams summons a helicopter?! That sounds outrageous. It would be good to see a list of the call outs and the reasons for them. It might be that a bit of naming and shaming is called for to prompt a return to a sense of normality.

 

atthedropofahat on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Really good article.

Pedro50 on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to Mick Fowler:

> 38% of teams summons a helicopter?! That sounds outrageous. It would be good to see a list of the call outs and the reasons for them. It might be that a bit of naming and shaming is called for to prompt a return to a sense of normality.

Perhaps a Piolet Merde award? 

Y Gribin - on 29 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent journalism - I’m really enjoying the breadth of UKC articles at the moment. 

Damo on 30 Aug 2018
In reply to cdpej:

I won't comment any more on GR here. Caveat Emptor.

It's probably also instructive to read this in conjunction with the article above:

http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2018/08/29/everest-rescue-scams-expose-corruption-across-nepal/

In reply to Damo:

I did start writing about Global Rescue and this strange case: https://thehimalayantimes.com/business/pakistan-embassy-us-firm-play-foul-over-everest-rescue/  but then we decided it detracted too much from the focus on Pakistan. There's definitely another article to be written on the situation in Nepal! 

GR are signing a contract with Askari Aviation and have just opened an office in Pakistan. I was told that no security deposit would be required if you were covered by GR and Askari would undertake the rescue.

profitofdoom on 30 Aug 2018
In reply to Damo:

> It's probably also instructive to read this in conjunction with the article above:

Thanks for the blog, Damo, useful. I see it says "several rescue and insurance companies from Britain, Australia and New Zealand gave Nepal a September 1, 2018, deadline to institute a solid process to stop the fraud or they said they would stop issuing insurance policies for trekkers and climbers" and also "But the scams and problems go way beyond insurance fraud, it includes Nepali owned and some foreign companies underpaying Sherpas, not providing safe climbing gear, pressuring porters and staff to carry heavier than recommended loads and more"

RickAllen - on 31 Aug 2018
In reply to UKC Articles: An excellent article raising important issues. As a beneficiary this year, I recognise the high level of professionalism of the service which pulled me off the Baltoro with frostbite and also of the Liaison Officers who coordinated efforts to locate me. Rick Allen

 

In reply to UKC Articles:

Update from Shamyl:

Putin awarded the Order of Friendship of four citizens of Pakistan for rescuing Alexander Gukov.

----

MOSCOW, September 3. / TASS /. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has awarded four citizens of Pakistan with Friendship orders for the  rescue of the Russian alpinist Alexander Gukov.

The relevant decree of the head of state was published on the official portal of legal information (Russian gazette).

Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Kazi Muhammad, Abid Rafik, Muhammad Anzhum Rafik and Fakhar-i-Abbas became Knights of the Order of Friendship "for their participation in the operation to save the Russian climber."


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