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Failed chopper rescue for Carlos and Silvio
08:51 a.m. EDT May 25, 2003
This morning there was a failed helicopter rescue attempt for Carlos Pauner and Silvio Mondinelli on Kangchenjunga. Both of the climbers summited on the 20th, but Carlos disappeared while descending, never arriving back in Camp III, 7600m. Just when all hope was lost, Carlos arrived in base camp after being at high altitude in bad weather for three days without shelter, food, or water. He survived, but has severely frostbitten fingers and is in danger of loosing them if he doesn’t get back to Spain immediately. Silvio Mondinelli is also suffering from frostbite on his fingers, although his case is not as severe as Carlos'.

A chopper from Kathmandu tried to fly in this morning, but poor weather kept if from landing in Ramche, a village near Kangchenjunga’s base camp. Instead, it landed in another village and is on standby for another attempt tomorrow morning.

Also involved in the rescue effort is also another military helicopter standing by to fly directly into base camp. This is case the chopper from Kathmandu can’t fly in because of bad weather.

The expedition has been on the phone with specialists and is treating the frostbite by keeping Carlos and Silvio’s fingers in a water/disinfectant mixture at 34 degree Celsius. They are also taking half an aspirin to help with circulation and 1 milligram of antibiotics to prevent infection, daily.

Doctors in both the climbers’ countries will be waiting on the tarmac to start treatment as soon as the plane hits the ground. Time is of the essence - if Carlos does not arrive in Spain by Sunday, he has a serious risk of losing fingers.

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