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Mountaineer Rescue - Kestrel's Most Challenging Mission

Medical Evacuation while getting stuck in a mountain is not an easy feat. There are a lot of obstacles and challenges that you face due to the space constraints for the Helicopter to land as well as altitude difference that you have to consider. But here at Kestrel Aero, we face the challenges head on and find solutions when no one else can.


This was definitely one of the most challenging missions that we had. To rescue a Malaysian mountain climber, also an anaesthesiologist, from Mount Annapurna in West Nepal. 


The 48-year-old summited the 8,100m Himalayan Mountain on Tuesday with at least 31 others but failed to return to the nearest camp, a kilometre below. The expedition organisers Seven Summit Treks said it has marked the mountaineer’s location on the area C3 of the mountain and deployed four sherpas to rescue him. Some team members waited at the camp for extra oxygen in the hopes of reaching him but efforts to send a helicopter with supplies were hampered by bad weather. 


The sherpas, pictured abseiling from a helicopter, are part of Nepal’s mountain search and rescue team. He was then eventually found by four experienced Sherpas that were dropped at another camp at 6,500m and brought him down to a lower camp to be airlifted to a hospital in Kathmandu. He was said to be in critical condition and was suffering from severe hypothermia and frostbite.


Kestrel received the call for this mission, Kathmandu to Singapore, in the evening of 25th April 2019 at 9:30pm. It was a complicated mission as it required a lot of detailed planning which took place through the night with the doctors. 


Together with the doctors, we had to figure out how much oxygen was needed, to source for an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Machine, a bigger Ground Ambulance and wider Aircraft doorway to be able to fit the machine. We also had to measure the power input of the ECMO Machine for a smooth flight. There were many things that we had to consider as it was also our first time rescuing a patient from a higher altitude.


This mission took 4 doctors, one being a specialist for various complications of the case. The patient was then successfully airlifted from Kathmandu to Singapore for further treatment at National University Hospital.

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