Fishtail Air & Air Zermatt pull off yet another difficult rescue operation
On Monday, 26th April, Fishtail Air & Air Zermatt’s rescue team evacuated seven members of a Korean expedition team from Mt.Manaslu(8,163m).The team comprising of pilot Capt. Sabin Basnyat, and rescue specialists from Air Zermatt, Richi Lehner and Dany Aufdenblatten left Kathmandu at 6:30 AM for Manaslu Base Camp. From above the Base Camp, the team saw, four people at Camp 2 at 6,200 meters and three people at about 200 meters away, moving slowly towards the camp. The rescue team took four rotations to rescue the very exhausted and frostbitten Korean Climbers and Sherpas. After arriving at a stopover, a second helicopter flew the rescued climbers to Kathmandu, while Dany, Sabin and a cameraman from Swiss TV ( who was recording for a documentary), went back to look for the remaining two climbers. They finally spied the lifeless body of one climber at an altitude of 7000 meters in a flank. The body of the other climber could not be located. Due to the height and steep terrain the body of the dead climber could not be recovered.
Brixen, Italy (05 Nov 10): Availability of Mountain Rescue Operation in the Nepal Himalaya was prime topic of discussion today at the International Mountain Summit held at Brixen in Italy. Mr. Suman Pandey, CEO of Fishtail Air addressed the gathering with his remarks on how the Alpine Rescue Operation technology is being transferred to Nepal by a Swiss company- Air Zermatt through Fishtail Air. Mr. Pandey also disclosed the fact that two Nepalese Everest summitters, Namgyal Sherpa and Chering Pande Bhote are in Zermatt, Switzerland receiving training on Human Cargo Sling Operation. Confirming the availability of missions above Base Camps for the next mountaineering season of Spring, 2011, he further informed, more pilots from Fishtail Air will be travelling to Zermatt for training and Swiss Rescue Pilots and Mountain Guides will be positioned at the bases in Lukla and Pokhara to meet up with SOS calls earliest as possible.
Mr. Gerold Biner, Chief Pilot and Operation Director of Air Zermatt and Mr.Bruno Yelk, renowned Rescue Mountain Guide from Switzerland also presented their reports. Their reports were based on the missions performed during the Spring of 2010 at Mt. Manaslu, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Everest in which several lives were saved. Accordingly, famous Italian climber, Mr. Simone Moro presented his experience of flying in the Nepal Himalaya together with Fishtail Air. Several other climbers expressed building of Mountain Rescue Operation system in Nepal as a positive step.
Italian climber and living legend of the mountaineering world, Reinhold Messner also expressed his thoughts on the subject. According to him, availability of the technology is a positive step but the Government of Nepal should make rules on who should be using these services. He elaborated that these services should be available only for those in need and not for sightseeing purposes. He also stressed that due to big budget required for the transfer of such kind of technology, big organizations like UIAA (International Mountaineering & Climbing Federation) and others from USA, Japan, European Union should help with the funding, so that within next five years, the facility could reach up to the local Nepalese people as well.
Fishtail Air & Air Zermatt Introduces Alpine Rescue System in Nepal
On 22nd May 2010 Fishtail Air organized a press conference at Nepal Tourism Board’s premises in Kathmandu. The conference was held to highlight the introduction of Alpine rescue System in the Nepalese Himalaya through the partnership of Swiss company Air Zermatt and Fishtail Air. Present at the conference were Fishtail Air’s Chairman Capt. Bikas JB Rana, CEO Mr.Suman Pandey, Air Zermatt’s Mr. Gerold Biner- Director of Operations and Mr.Bruno Jelk-Rescue Specialist, Fishtail Air’s pilots and rescue specialists and media persons.
Visuals on Air Zermatt’s operation in the Swiss Alps plus footage on spring 2010 rescue missions in the Nepal Himalayas conducted by the joint team Air Zermatt and Fishtail Air were shown. Briefing media persons Mr. Suman Pandey highlighted how the partnership between Air Zermatt and Fishtail Air will go a long way in developing Alpine Rescue System in the Himalayas, thus saving many lives. He also informed the gathering about Fishtail Air’s new Air Ambulance.
Fishtail Air & Air Zermatt’s team made a record breaking rescue on 29th April, 2010 using ‘human sling operation’, on Mt.Annapurna I (8,091m). Three Spanish climbers were evacuated from 6900m by Fishtail Air’s AS 350 B3, using human sling operation. The climbers were stranded in the mountain for 36 hrs due to bad weather.
The rescue operation was carried out by Capt. Daniel Aufdenblatten from Air Zermatt, Switzerland, while Swiss Mountain Guide, Richard Lenner hung on the Sling and lifted the stranded climbers. The three Spanish climbers were evacuated with the longline, one by one and flown to base camp at 4000 meter. This was the highest longline rescue in history.
Fishtail Air has been carrying out special rescue missions this season, together with Air Zermatt’s assistance using it’s newly acquired AS 350 B3. The team had rescued 4 Korean climbers and 3 Nepalese Sherpas from 6,500m at Mt. Manaslu on 26th April.
A delegation from Fishtail Air, Nepal led by Mr. Suman Pandey, CEO is undergoing observation training in Alpine Rescue Operations with the support of a Swiss Company, ‘Air Zermatt’ in Switzerland. Since its inception in 1968, Air Zermatt has pioneered helicopter rescue operations in the Swiss Alps.
With an objective of extending expertise in Alpine Rescue Operations in the Himalayas, Air Zermatt has organized a week long observation training programme to the Nepalese team. The Nepalese team comprises of Fishtail Air’s CEO Mr. Suman Pandey, Capt. Sabin Basnyat – Chief Pilot, Mr.Pradip Gautam- Manager Operations and Mr. Purna Awale – senior technician. The team had had arrived on 3rd of March. Mr. Binod Giri, Chief of Air Safety Department is also accompanying the team as an observer from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Air Zermatt’s rescue operations have saved millions of lives. The company is known as an expert in conducting Human Sling Operations (a difficult aerial rescue maneuver involving dropping an expert mountain guide at an inaccessible point to lift stranded people using ropes). It is hoped that the transfer of this special skill from Swiss Alps to the Nepal Himalayas will not only help in saving lives at risk on the high mountains, but also enhance level of safety and instill confidence in adventurers. The company plans to organize more training programmes in future.
Capt. Sabin Basnyat of Fishtail Air on the cockpit
Fishtail Air’s Mr. Purna Awale (on the rope) undergoing training in ‘Alpine Rescue Operations’ at Matterhorn (4478m), Switzerland.
My trip to the 'roof of the world' was a great adventure - right from the mysterious Potala Palace in Lhasa to the Everest Base Camp.