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Mystery chopper returns to Everest summit
image story

May 12, 2005 09: 32 EST
This just in from Jamie McGuinness on Everest’s North Side: “While seeing part of the team off for the trek to ABC, at 7:25 - 7:27 am Nepali time we saw a helicopter again trying to land on the summit. From BC, quite a distance away, we didn’t get a photo and were not able to see if it landed or not, although it was again close. It seemed to try to stay in Nepali airspace. The Indian Air Force team here seems to have zero idea about the whole thing.”

On May 5th, Jamie reported that a chopper tried to land twice on the summit of Everest. He couldn’t confirm that it landed, but even if it didn’t, he was sure it was “very close” to the summit.

Video clip of the chopper

On Everest’s South Side, the Valencia team shot a video of the May 5th chopper hovering above the South Col at 8000+ meters. You can see a clip of that video on ExplorersWeb TV’s May 11th newscast.

So, who is it?

There continues to be speculation as to who is behind the high altitude landing attempts. Last year, on November 2, 2004, the Indian Air Force set a new world record by reaching a density Altitude of 25,150 ft at Saserkangri near Leh. But, as Jamie mentioned, the IAF team on Everest this year was in the dark about today’s landing attempt.

Also in 2004, in rescue missions on May 11, 12 and 13, an IAF Cheetah helicopter landed at an altitude of 23,240 feet on the Kamet glacier in the Garhwal Himalayas to rescue three critically injured climbers. Wing Commander S K Sharma and his co-pilot Flt Lt A B Dhanake managed to successfully take off from the glacier with an increased pay-load of 70 kg. Sharma and Dhanake flew the rescue missions on May 11, 12 and 13 in severe turbulent conditions and in the face of jet speed winds.

Image of unrelated chopper courtesy of IndiaDaily.com

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