One of our HeliOps crewmen was recently recognised for his daring rescue in the Himalayas whilst on holiday! Suspended and close to the mountainside, Glenn was put down near the casualty and then clipped himself onto the individual using a karabiner; on Glenn’s command, using only hand-signals, the helicopter lifted them both off the cliff-face.
In honour of Glenn’s bravery and the Royal Humane Society Silver Medal award he received in May, Please read on…
Glenn Holmes is one of our Heli Operations crewmen and was involved in a toe curling rescue during a hang gliding holiday in the Himalayas…
We wrote him up for an award and it was accepted!
Late afternoon on the Wednesday 30th October reports can into the Paragliding control of a crash high in the mountains somewhere west of Parampur. The helo went out there late afternoon but couldn’t get high enough to search due to the bad weather and CB activity. It dropped off some mountaineers well below the estimated position and came back to Bir. Then the second crash was reported and that’s the first rescue I was involved in when I was suspended under the helo to effect the rescue of the Russian. By the time we got back it was dark and nothing could be done for the other crash victim. Next morning I volunteered to help in the recovery of the crashed paraglider pilot somewhere in the region of Parampur.
The plan was to search for the casualty and then do the same as the night before, land somewhere near attach me to the rope under the helo and fly me into the casualties position suspended 100 ft under the helicopter and let me hook on to him and then fly us out on the rope. When we got to the area we carried out a search and eventually found the crash site. Unfortunately the guy had crashes into a vertical slab face about 12000 feet up as per the pictures I send you. He was situated in a little vertical gully with the paraglider caught on the rocks above him. He was hanging upside down in his harness and the only thing preventing him falling was one of his legs had got hooked in the strap of the harness. He had been there all night like that.
On finding him we tried to close but the position he was in we could not get the helicopter in close enough due to the terrain, the weather conditions at the time, ( thick cloud patches were all round) and the power margins available to the pilot. We therefore decided that hanging me under the helicopter would not work and be too dangerous as the pilot was not confident he could get anywhere near the casualty. We decided the best option was to drop off the mountaineers about 500 ft below the casualty on an outcrop of rock where we could just get one skid on and I dispatched 3 climbers in 2 gos at this place to climb to the casualty and hopefully move him to a better place to effect a rescue. We in the helo then went back to Bir for a couple of hours while the climbing team got the the casualty and moved him.
Back at Bir I came up with the rescue plan to effect the rescue which I brief the pilot and the ground party who we had comms with on a radio. My plan was to remain in the helo and guide the pilot into the overhead hover. I judged that using a 30 foot rope tied to the skid we could recover first one of the climbers and then the casualty to a point somewhere below the crash site where we could land and load him on board and fly him to medical help. Mid afternoon with the weather coming in again we fly back out to the site where the climbers had moved the casualty too and with me in the door on a harness we made from a climbing harness, rope and karabinas and using a sand bag as a weight I conned the pilot into position overhead the casualty, then talked him down to a height where I lowered the rope and karabina to the first Climber who hooked on and we flew him to the landing point 1000 feet below on a buttress which I guided the pilot into before lowering the climber onto the ground. I then recovered the rope and we flew back to the casualty and the remaining climbers and again conned the pilot into position on the narrow ledge to attach the casualty to the rope and then flew him off the ledge to the landing point where again I conned the pilot in height and direction to place the casualty on the ground with the climber we propositioned. After landing on we put the casualty on board and flew him to Bir. He had broken both legs and was suffering from shock and being out all night.
The Full Story: Download it here
BBC News Report: bbc.com/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-27039666