Ama Dablam north face chopper accident update: rescued climbers David Göttler and Kazuya Hiraide

Posted: Nov 24, 2010 07:35 pm EST

On November 7, news broke out about a Fishtail Air chopper that crashed while trying to rescue two Japanese climbers on Ama Dablam north face. The Annapurna record-holding rescue pilot Sabin Basnyat and his fellow technician Purna Awale were killed in the crash, which took place on their second flight after they had safely airlifted one of the stranded climbers.

There was no further news on the second climber. Initially, reports were difficult to find but finally surfaced, shedding some new light:

The climber that was rescued first was not Japanese, but German, David Göttler, who is a regular climbing mate of Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. He told his sponsor, Black Diamond, that he was teaming up for a climb on Ama Dablam's north face with Piolet d'Or winner Kazuya Hiraide, the second Japanese climber (reported correctly this time) .

Both climbers safely rescued

After the crash, a second chopper was assigned to complete the rescue mission. "In the early hours of November 8, Captains Ashish Sherchan and Siddhartha Jung Gurung conducted the rescue mission and rescued Mr. Kazuya Hiraide," Fishtail Air reports. "They also planted a team of mountain guides at the crash site. The team recovered the dead bodies of the deceased which were flown back to Kathmandu in two helicopters belonging to Fishtail Air."

Back in Chukung, David reported about the incident on his website:

"We had been climbing on Ama's north face for four days, up to 6,400 meters. Upon reaching the north ridge, though, we found ourselves trapped, with no options for retreat due to dangerous conditions. We asked for a chopper rescue and were told we would be airlifted on November 7. They picked me up on the first flight and at the second approach, the helicopter crashed. Kazuya was rescued with another helicopter the following day. He is safely back in Lukla, where I hope to meet him."

"I am still mourning for the two Nepalese pilots -- my deepest condolences to the families. I will never forget their bright, proud and happy eyes staring at me as they came to save me."

A detailed report and some impressive images on David's website (links section).
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The rescued climbers back in Lukla: Kazuya Hiraide (left) and David Göttler.
courtesy David Göttler
David Göttler being rescued from Ama Dablam's north ridge by a Fishtail Air chopper, which later crashed while trying to airlift David's mate Kazuya Hiraide.
courtesy David Göttler

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