RESCUE MISSION ON KANG GURU HIMAL
A rescue operation was carried out for the search of the Kang Guru Himal Expedition team. A team of 18 persons, including 7 French climbers, were missing from the Base Camp of Kang Guru Himal in the Annapurna Region due to avalanche resulted from heavy snowfalls in the third week of October, 2005. Eleven others were Nepali supporting staff. At the call of the French Embassy in Kathmandu, Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal(HRA) started working as a coordinating body immediately after it received the information about the tragic incident on October 21. But HRA was unable to dispatch a rescue team to the site on October 22 due to bad weather condition and unavailability of helicopters in Kathmandu. A seven-member rescue mission was sent to Kang Guru Himal by an MI 17 helicopter in the morning of 23 October.
The team was led by Mr. Padam Ghale. Another 11-member rescue team was also despatched to the area on October24, 2006. After conducting search operations, the helicopter picked up three porters from Meta and brought them to Pokhara. Four porters were able to come down from the Base Camp to Meta. One of them joined the rescue team. Thus, altogether four porters were luckily saved from the accident. The French Embassy had played very important role in the rescue mission.
The expedition was organized by Churen Himal Treks and Expedition.
Chairman of HRA, Mr. Bikram Neupane also flew to Meta to observe the situation. The helicopter dropped the team at Meta, from where it takes about two and an half hours’ walk to the accident site. Despite the adverse weather conditions, the search and rescue works were continued.
On October 25, the dead body of a French climber was found. He was identified as Bruno Chardin. His body was brought to Kathmandu the following day. All the members of the rescue team, except two, returned to Kathmandu. On October 26, four French rescue experts and three Nepali supporting staff flew to Meta to see the actual situation there. On the same day, all of them came back to Kathmandu to re-organize the mission.
The search and rescue team returned to Kathmandu after assuming that all the victims were buried in the deep gorge anywhere between 50-100 metres.
A series of meetings were held in Kathmandu to organize the mission in a more effective manner. Discussions on detailed technical aspects were held about conducting the second phase of search and rescue mission. Finally, it was decided to carry out the second phase of search and rescue
operation and a 30-member team was sent to the incident site on October 31, 2005.
Of the total members, 25 were Nepalese and the remaining five were French rescue experts. The team also included two mountain rescue dogs, which were brought from France, and seven kitchen support staff.
In the course of search and rescue operation, the dead body of one more French climber (unidentified) was found in the incident site on November 1, 2005.
On November 3rd, 2005, French Ambassador to Nepal HE Mr. Michel Jolivet and Chairman of HRA and coordinator of the mission Mr. Bikram Neupane visited the accident site at Meta to supervise the ongoing search and rescue operations.
The team worked hard to find out the remaining missing people by using all the available techniques. With the winter season nearing, the rescue team felt difficulties to continue rescue operations. So, the team decided to return to Kathmandu on November 5, 2005.
After eight months, another search mission was carried out at the initiation of the French Embassy under the active leadership of Mr. Padam Ghale. The team recovered the remaining dead bodies on July 6, 2006. They were brought to Kathmandu and handed over to their respective families.