Tragedy on Manaslu – Great efforts by all other expeditions to help injured climbers.

I have just read a report below about the huge avalanche on Manaslu  in the Himalayas on the Himalayan Experience Expedition website. They are run by Russell Price  who was heavily involved in the Rescue attempt. Russell is an outstanding mountaineer and I met him on our trip to Everest in 2001 in Tibet, where he was a great help to our trip and was again involved in a big Rescue during our expedition to save some Russian climbers. He is one of the most experienced and most successful expedition operators in the big mountains of the Himalayas. These huge mountains especially the 8000 metre peaks are a huge attraction nowadays as the Himalayas are more accessible and more and more people are drawn to these magnificent mountains.

“When the first helicopter arrived it flew directly to the scene and returned to Samagon, but during this flight I was able to speak to the pilot and suggested that he just do short flights from BC to C2 and shuttle victims here where our Doctor’s Nima and Susumu plus a French doctor were waiting to deal with casualties. So we started the shuttle of victims to BC, all these people were carried to the Himex camp where they were able to be checked and received medical attention. The first 5 people requiring medical attention were flown off, but as the avalanche had come when most people were still in their sleeping bags, it became apparent that most people had lost their boots and climbing equipment and therefore also needed rescue.

During the day there were 18 flights to the rescue site. It was not until late in the evening that we were able to get more clear details, but it transpired that there had been 31 people caught in the avalanche, that 14 had been evacuated alive, 8 bodies had been recovered and that there were still 3 missing. On the first flight up from BC I sent a mountain guide who was able to photograph all of the bodies, so as we could positively identify them. This was tiresome and gruesome work for all concerned, but by the end of the day we were sure we had accounted for everyone.

Confirmed deaths:

  • 1 x German
  • 3 x French
  • 1 x Canadian
  • 1 x Italian
  • 1 x Spanish
  • 1 x Nepalese

Still missing:

  • 3 x French.

This is all taken from Himalayan Experience blog and it is an incredible story. It is good to see that all other expeditions did what they could. It must have been a terrible time for all concerned and my thoughts are with all the families who lost their lives.

“All of the Himalayan Experience team share their condolences to all those who are bereaved, and of course some of us have lost personal friends, some of who are still missing. We will continue to look for these missing as we progress on the mountain.

This is the story from our end at BC, but we must not forget all those from the various teams who put themselves in danger to assist with the rescue efforts at C2 / C3. Without these efforts the death toll would have been much higher. And it is only in recent years that we have been able to conduct helicopter rescues at this sort of altitude, so also thanks to the pilots.”

What a terrible tragedy and to be there and survive such a disaster will be life changing, we will never know how many owe their lives to the efforts of the climbers, Sherpas and pilots who flew to such altitudes to save life. Add to that the complications of Rescue in these high mountains and you have a real epic.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
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