Left for dead, Israeli mountaineer rescued after fall in Himalayas
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Left for dead, Israeli mountaineer rescued after fall in Himalayas

Nadav Ben Yehuda, who saved a Turkish climber on Everest in 2012, survives for hours without oxygen tanks, food, or water on third-highest mountain in the world

Nadav Ben Yehuda at the top of Mount Kazbeck on Thursday. (Anna Godg'bidzh/ GPO/ Flash90)
Nadav Ben Yehuda at the top of Mount Kazbeck on Thursday. (Anna Godg'bidzh/ GPO/ Flash90)

An Israeli mountain climber was rescued over the weekend under perilous conditions, after suffering a serious fall in the Himalayas.

Left for dead, Nadav Ben Yehuda survived for hours after he plunged off a cliff near the summit of Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, without “food, water, or oxygen,” his wife Lana told the Ynet news website.

“Nadav reached 140 meters beneath the summit without using oxygen, and at some point he fell vertically and was injured,” she said, speaking to the Israeli news outlet from the Kathmandu hospital where her husband was receiving treatment.

“All the climbers withdrew from that line and Nadav remained alone. They saw he wasn’t returning and reported him to be dead,” she said.

Some of his fellow climbers, however, later noticed movement from below and saw Ben Yehuda was stirring, his wife said.

A complicated rescue mission ensued and Ben Yehuda was successfully extracted from below.

He was being treated in Nepal for a slew of injuries, including frostbite and injuries to his spine and ribs, she said.

Israeli mountain climber Nadav Ben Yehuda (left) with Aydin Irmak, the Turkish climber he rescued on Mount Everest (Photo credit: Channel 2 screen capture)
Israeli mountain climber Nadav Ben Yehuda (left) with Aydin Irmak, the Turkish climber he rescued on Mount Everest (Channel 2 screen capture)

In 2012, Ben Yehuda was lauded after he halted his ascent of Mount Everest 300 meters from the peak to save an unconscious Turkish climber.

At the time, Ben Yehuda was a 24-year-old law student from Rehovot, who would have become the youngest Israeli to summit the world’s highest mountain.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 in 2012, he described how he had revived Aydin Irmak — who he said he knew before — and carried him down the mountain.

“I’d passed two fresh corpses,” Ben Yehuda said, “when I found him. He was unconscious. He had no gloves. No oxygen. No crampons. No cover… He was waiting for the end,” Ben Yehuda said.

Ben Yehuda said he tied Irmak to his harness and began the descent — about a nine-hour journey to the nearest base. “It was very hard to carry him because he was heavy. At times he would gain consciousness, but then faint again. When he woke up, he would scream in pain, which made it even more difficult,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth.

After that incident, Ben Yehuda suffered frostbite in four of his fingers, as well as in two toes, and said that he had a certain loss of sensation in his left-hand.

Undeterred, he continued climbing mountains, including Mount Kazbeck in September 2012, which hovers at over 5,033 meters (16,512 feet) above Georgia.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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