Reporter’s Diary: Of Emergency Landings and Daredevil Evacuations

The plan was to leave our hotel in Kathmandu at 6:30 am and be back by 10 am. Instead, we returned two days later, with stories to last an entire year!

Indian mountaineer Arjun Vajpai had summited the Kanchenjunga on 20 May and a few reporters were flown down to Nepal to meet the 24-year-old after yet another career landmark.

Also Read: Mountaineer Arjun Vajpai, Life-Saving Sherpas & ‘The Big 8k Dream’

On Tuesday (22 May) morning, we boarded our helicopters and left for the Kanchenjunga base camp, with a plan to return to Kathmandu in three hours, and off to Delhi by that night. Because we were travelling in choppers, there were instructions to carry minimal equipment and, obviously, no change of clothes.

That was the plan.

Because what started as a sunny, clear sky when we took off in the choppers, was covered with thick clouds by the time we made our first unplanned stopover. By the time we reached what was supposed to be the ‘mid-point’ of our journey, both choppers had been forced to make emergency landings on the side of a mountain and I, for one, had cried a few silent tears.

For the complete story of our three-day mountain ‘excursion’, watch the video.

(Edited by Prashant Chauhan)

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