Three tourists visiting Nepal all the way from Kuwait were flown up at the Kalapathar-‘Black Rock’ (almost at 5500m) in the Khumbu region on a memorable early flight from Kathmandu. The scenic flight was carried out by Captain Gregor Beer who dropped them at Syangboche from where Captain Ashish Sherchan picked them up in the mean machine 9N-AJI (AS350B3) to Kalapathar and back to the capital again by Captain Gregor Beer from Syangboche.
Voices were stilled, as we heard about the unfortunate mishap at Mt. Ama Dablam at the early hours of the 7th of November 2010 where we lost two of our finest gems Late Captain Sabin Basnyat and Late technician Purna Awale while on a rescue mission to save the lives of two foreign mountaineers. The news overshadowed all of Nepalese Civil Aviation in a matter of hours.
They had changed our understanding of Mountain rescuing and had given a platform to promote adventure tourism in The Great Himalayas. The ambience created by the generous smile of Capt. Sabin and the humble character of Purna, shall never be forgotten.
Our grief is real, and that should come as no surprise. Their death has felt personal; the chapters they signify are not just historical. Their deaths, in a fleeting way, compel us to take measure of what has slipped from our own lives.
They remind us of our own passages through the years that they had helped mountain rescuing. They remind us of the times when — times that we, like they, can never get back like making history with completing the mission of the highest rescue in the world at Mt. Annapurna. They remind us, that is to say, of our own impermanence.
Hence, We at Fishtail Air humbly welcome all your feelings and salutations towards our heroic and gallant companions. Let’s share in harmony the imprint they left on us. Please feel free to write down the messages you would like them and their families to know.
Fishtail Air Family
Kathmandu (8th November, 2010): We deeply regret to inform you that our helicopter AS 350 B3 (Call Sign: 9N-AIX) met with an unfortunate accident at the Base Camp of Mount Ama Dablam (6812m) in the Khumbu Region while on a rescue mission. The unfortunate crash occurred on 7th November 2010 at around 9:30 AM (local time) when the helicopter flown by Late Captain Sabin Basnyat and accompanied by technician Late Purna Awale, were returning to rescue Mr. Kazuya Hiraide, a Japanese climber after having safely rescued German climber Mr. Danial Gottler. On this second mission, the aircraft met with an accident where both pilot and technician lost their lives.
After the crash occurred, Fishtail Air deployed another AS350B3 Equiriel (Call Sign: 9N-AJI) helicopter to continue the rescue mission. In the early hours of 8th November Captain Ashish Sherchan & Captain Siddhartha Jung Gurung conducted the rescue mission and rescued Mr. Kazuya Hiraide. They also dropped a team of mountain guides at the crash site. They team recovered the dead bodies of the deceased which were flown back to Kathmandu on two helicopters of Fishtail Air.
With the untimely demise of Late Captain Sabin Basnyat and senior technician Late Purna Awale, Fishtail Air as well as the Nepalese aviation fraternity have lost two very experienced and skilled experts. Their loss is deeply felt and they will be dearly missed by all of us at Fishtail Air.
Brixen, Italy (05 Nov 10): Availability of Mountain Rescue Operation in the Nepal Himalaya was prime topic of discussion today on the International Mountain Summit held at Brixen in Italy. Mr. Suman Pandey, CEO of private Nepalese helicopter company 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 Yelke, 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 numerous 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.
Reinhold Messner is a living legend in the mountaineering world. The Italian climber is renowned for being the first climber to summit all 14 eight thousanders. He has also to his credit the achievement of being the first solo climber to ascend 14 eight thousanders without the use of supplemental oxygen.
Messner is currently in Nepal shooting a documentary for a German production house in the Everest region. The documentary is expected to promote Nepal Tourism Year 2011.
On 29th, 30th & 31st October, Reinhold Messner flew on Fishtail Air’s helicopter to capture footage of the mountains in the Everest Region. Captain Siddhartha Jung Gurung was in charge of the flight.