Close to the limits!

Oct 3, 2017

Four days of planning and coordination ended in ‘one of the most dramatic recovery missions in Kenya’s history’. Under the outstanding leadership of Simon Gitau (the Kenya Wildlife Service Assistant Director and former Park Warden), a team of 5 technical climbers, 20 supporters and a Tropic Air helicopter, piloted by Ben Simpson and Timmy Flowers, together recovered the body of fallen climber Fang Wenchao off the north face of Batian peak. A tragic accident and a great loss for his family and friends.

Pilot of the AS 350B3 HelicopterFor Tropic Air, this is most most daring and courageous helicopter rescue successes, ever! Operating at an extreme altitude of 16,800 feet – near to the helicopter limits – it took a great deal of piloting skill and confidence, and an intimate understanding of the mountain’s climate and landscape. Hovering at these altitudes the helicopter is highly sensitive and it was a difficult task to drop a long line and stretcher with precision to the rescue team – who had endured a 24 hour technical climb in below zero temperatures. The body was carefully airlifted to the Sirimon Park Gate where family was waiting, and taken by vehicle to Nanyuki.

Long line from the helicopter on Mount Kenya