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Long line helicopter rescue and medical assistance in Nepal

On February 7th, 2023, Inherent Risks' Operations Team received an urgent request to locate a missing traveller in Nepal's Himalayas.

The information available to us at that time was that the traveller had left his accomodation at approx. 04:00hrs, and was reported missing at approx. 09:00hrs local time. The weather was reported as 'pea soup' (foggy).

We coordinated a ground search and rescue effort, at altitude. After four-hours, the traveller was located on a shelf. He appeared to have fallen approx. 20m.

Due to the time of day, weather, and location of the patient, a helicopter rescue was not immediately possible. A Paramedic was roped down to assess the patient, insulate from the cold, hydrate, and stabalise.

The injuries of the patient were assessed as too severe to hoist over the shelf above, with the added complication of rock fall.

The decision therefore was made to conduct a Long Line helicopter rescue the following morning. This meant the Paramedic had to secure himself and the patient to the side of the mountain, and wait out the night.

At first light, a helicopter was dispatched from Kathmandu to conduct an Aerial Risk Assessment. After determining that a Long Line Rescue was possible, the helicopter returned to Lukla to refuel, and reconfigure for the rescue role.

The rescue was successful. The patient, although critical, was admitted to a trusted medical facility and received the very best medical treatment for hopefully what will be a rapid recovery.

Inherent Risks provided essential third party claims administration and cost containment services to our travel insurance client.


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