Dr. Francesco Cassardo, the Italian mountaineer injured last Saturday at over 6300 meters on Gasherbrum VII, has been airlifted to safety. The rescue efforts by Carlalberto Cala Cimenti, Denis Urubko, Don Bowie, Jaroslaw Zdanowich and Janusz Adamski and also Marco Confortola proved to be of fundamental importance.
The drama that was unfolding on the slopes of Gasherbrum VII in Pakistan, where the 30-year-old Italian mountaineer and doctor Francesco Cassardo fell and sustained serious injuries while on an expedition with Carlalberto Cimenti, has fortunately come to an end. Cala Cimenti, who a short while earlier had managed to ski from the summit, immediately called for help and then reached Cassardo to spend a first night out in the open at 6300 meters.
Don Bowie, Marco Confortola, Cala Cimenti and Denis Urubko. Photo by archivio Carlalberto Cala Cimenti
Unfortunately for various reasons the rescue helicopter did not reach them the next day and so , acting on their own accord, Denis Urubko, Don Bowie, Jaroslaw Zdanowich and Janusz Adamski ascended to Cassadro and transported him down to Camp 1 at 5900 meters where he spent the night with supplementary oxygen brought up by Urubko. After this rescue operation, at dawn this morning the helicopter finally succeeded in plucking Cassardo off the mountain and transporting hims to the Combined Military Hospital in Skardu. According to preliminary reports published by Italy’s ANSA press office, Cassardo’sconditions appear better than initially feared. The mountaineers are safely back down in Base Camp, from where Cala Cimenti published the following report
"Denis Urubko, Don Bowie and the two Poles Jaroslaw Zdanowich and Janusz Adamski were angels, without them we would never have made it and Francesco would not have been able to spend another night at 6300 meters.
The guys immediately offered to help rescue operations, they did everything they could to help us. They had just finished climbing an 8000er and raced up to us. Don gave up on his expedition to save Francesco, he had actually been due to make his summit bid.
The helicopter would never have been able to come and pick us up at the scene of the accident, there were too many seracs, the rescue operation by land was fundamental, just as it was fundamental for Francesco to breath the oxygen brought to him by Denis.
Now let's pray for Francesco. When he was taken away by helicopter he was lucid, talking and reasoning. We are confident, he certainly does not give up easily!!”
Thanks also to Marco Confortola - Mountain Guide & Mountaineer & Trainer who coordinated the helicopter rescue from the base camp. Marco wrote "I talked to the pilot, I told him it was useless to carry my weight up there, he would have found other people who needed to board the chopper. I explained exactly where to go, a safe place to land. We saved him, Francesco now it's up to you not to give up. We love you. Your friends"
We thank Agostino da Polenza, the Italian Embassy with the Consul Stefano Pontecorvo, Guido Bilancini, the Farnesina, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Gian Gasca, the pilots, all the mountaineers present, the journalists and all those who participated in saving Francesco.
Thanks also to all the friends, to those who followed us and sent us a message of encouragement.
It was nice to feel surrounded by so much affection.
In the picture Cala, Don, Marco and Denis.
THANK YOU SO MUCH. CALA AND ERIKA "
This article first appeared on http://www.planetmountain.com. The original can be read here.