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  Everest 2007:  Sergey Kofanov report and video concerning rescue of Marco Epis


NOTE THE BELOW IS UNEDITED, POSTED AS SUBMITTED, THE VIDEO FOLLOWS AT THE END

Sergey Kofanov's story ….

  … after summit I should be stayed almost one and a half hour on a crest at  8500 meters. I was waiting for  Sergey Larin who was the last in our team. At last,  about 12 a.m. he has informed me, that he has safely gone down from the Second Step. Then I have decided that the most dangerous part of a route  is already  behind, and  I  could start  go down to the camp  8300 m .

 Oxygen in my last cylinder was practically finished, but I not  too worried  as felt  well enough in spite of the fact that all night I  worked on a route as the first, making a track in deep snow and finding fix-ropes. To the moment of my arrival to the camp 8300 most part of clients already began to go down  with sirdar Mingma and other Sherpas. Only Israfil Ashurly and Curt Myers  remained on camp.

Approaching to my tent, I have seen in 15 meters above, on a slope,  a  climber  laying just in snow. He was without crampons  and harness, his oxygen mask  was moved down aside. The man did not answer and made feeble attempts to rise, obviously not understanding where he is and what happened. In his backpack I have found an oxygen cylinder of system « Summit Oxygen», used approximately on two third.

I have dragged him on snow  to the tent. Having thrown off from him  and from myself backpack and oxygen mask, I have dragged him inside of  tent and have put him face down. First of all I  decided to make  him an injection of dexametazon  and only then  try to give a drink, a coffee which remained  in tent in my thermos. At night before a summit bid I have decided to not  take a thermos with coffee as there was to little spaces in my  backpack -  only for three cylinders of oxygen and the first-aid set. It was to the best,  to heat water from snow - it takes a lot of time.

Then I have looked in the first-aid set, there  were two syringe with dexametazon on 40 mg in everyone. Unfortunately, it was frozen in both and I have unpacked one to warm up it in my palms. This time Israfil said me that he has left a full cylinder of oxygen, leaving downwards.  

At this time,  some unknown girl  has approached to me  and has put to me in a hand a syringe filled with something. She explain  that in a syringe is  prednizalon. From her I have found out, that the person who lays  in tent is an Italian, lost  two day ago.  His team has gone down yesterday, having despaired to find him. A girl was  French,  speaking  Italian and  English.

I got back in tent  and have made  an injection. At that time  the second  French girl  came to us. I have got out of tent and have reconsidered a backpack of the Italian in which besides an oxygen cylinder was still kg 10 different partly nonsense things,  including even a photo of his  favourite dog. Together with French climbers  we have started to prepare him  for a transportation. We took out all from his backpack except a camera. One girl came to his tent and found his crampons and harness.

In the meantime, the medicines started to operate - the Italian started to be shaking and began to make attempts to sit.

It took us about 10 minutes to dressed  him, that time we found out  that his name is Маrcо. Together with coffee I have forced him to take a tablet  of dymox  and  trental,  as fingers on his hands were rather strongly frostbitten. 

Having left the most part of things in tent, we have  pulled him outside. I have put on him sunglasses, a backpack with an oxygen cylinder and a mask. Then I also have quickly put on myself. Having lifted him on legs I have understood  that he could not go. Having fastened him to a fixed rope, I have piled him on myself, thus we have begun descent. After 100 meters I have been exhausted finally and have put him on snow. The only way was to try to drag him on snow as the steepness of a slope allowed to make it. Thus, we have rather quickly overcome about 500 meters of a slope, up to a meeting with a Sherpa, which without a backpack went on  upward.

 Sherpa spoke English quite good and  he has explained to me, that he was from other Italian expedition, and that he was  ready to help me to lower a victim. We began to drag him together downwards.  Members of second part of  our team which should go this night on an ascent began to pass upward. To this moment I was sure, that we shall manage to lower Marco in camp of  7700 m, and I have refused from their help.

On a next flat place, I have stopped descent - it was necessary to make the second injection dexametazon. Warming up beforehand a syringe in palms, I have entered to him a doze of a medicine, this time - direct through trousers. Then French  girls came from above, bearing 10 meter of a rope to belay  us in steep parts.

We have continued descent,. I  went still ahead, practically bearing Marco on myself - he  has pulled hard on me, and Sherpa (then I have found out that he called  Mingma), went behind, belaying us  with a rope.  The French went   behind  us, but, having understood, that they  can not render real help, they have overtaken us with words that will try at 7700 m to find somebody from members of his expedition.

Many forces took away when we passed groups which went up. The track was very narrow and at such moments of overtaking the Italian simply completely lay down on me, taking away all forces. But deximetazon and oxygen slowly started to operate and, gradually loading on me has decreased. To tell the truth,  at that moment,  I  was out of forces - oxygen in my cylinder was finished. To the camp at height 7900 m  (a camp of Russel Brice), I  came as in a fog,   already hardly understanding what is up.

Having fallen among tents of camp 7900m, we simply were lying, coming to the senses. At this time  Sherpas of Russell have started to gather around of our company, trying to find out :  who - whom rescues. On that moment Marco, probably, looked  better  than I and Mingma. In my mouth it was completely  dry. We could not speak,  only  show, that we need something to drink.  Only after 10 minutes, we could explain a situation.

Knowing that  Russell  never denies assistance, I have asked him by radio to give us  one oxygen cylinder for maintenance rescue. I understood, that if I and Mingma still could move without oxygen,  it simply may kill Marco. Fortunately Russell has agreed, and the required cylinder was allocated without problems. Having put on regulator for  three liters per minute, we have continued our descent. The track became much worse - rocky outputs on which it was impossible  to drag.

 It was necessary to charge him on my back again. In my eyes all darkened more strongly - I did not sleep and do not eat more than a day, working on a route at height 8000 meters and having visited the summit of Everest. When we at last reached the camp 7700m I was as in a half-delirium.

  Having failed near first of our tent, we three laid  without movement about half hour. Sherpas from  Korean expedition which stood nearby, with surprise observed us, and have then guessed to bring a little hot tea. After that more fresh Mingma  had risen and went to tents of Koreans, and I have forced myself to unbutton a tent and have half dragged myself inside. The Italian has remained to lay on snow outside. From drowsiness in which I have failed, I was  pulled out by come back of Mingma.

 We should go because soon oxygen will be finished and then nothing will rescue Marco.  Mingma has again fixed Marco  to itself and has dragged him downwards.  In the meantime I have decided   to lie down some more  in tent, coming to the senses. I remember that some people going upwards looked and asked me:  where is my personal Sherpa or guide ?  Probably I was looked rather bad,  but my answers was «Go, go your way, I am a guide and Sherpa, I need no help», people is surprised shrugged shoulders and offered me some oxygen.

After about 20 minutes, a little bit having come in myself, I began descent downwards, having thrown out preliminary from the backpack an empty oxygen cylinder and something from things.

Rather soon I have caught up Мingma with the client. I have again gone ahead,  belaying. Soon I noticed that  his coordination improved. Approaching  to our camp on 7000 m, Marco moved practically independently. In camp I have told our cook Gumbu, that he was going to hot a soup and tea and, having planted the Italian on a chair, I has gone to learn the latest news about my own group. Practically all our clients were at 7000 m in the North Col camp and slept in tents, only Azerbaijanian Israfil Ashurly and German Dirk Feige have gone down  in camp ABC on height 6400 m.

Everything was in the order, and I have returned to the Italian. After  soup, I have asked him  to take tablets of dymox and trental.

Unfortunately, he did not speak English, so I and  Maxim Shakirov  could not extend from him any information. Marco answered all our words only «no comprendo», and Маx in Italian knew only words "Pinocchio" and "Cippolino". In the meantime,  it darkened. Having talked with Мingma, we have decided to not leave Marco on North Col and to continue descent downwards in camp of 6400 m. I saw, that the guy has practically come to the senses, and  told to Mingma  began descent without me. 

 I  had planned  to start a bit later  and then overtake them. But probably my forces were out,  as, starting 10 minutes later, I could overtake them only  at «crampons point» at 6600 m. Therefrom to the camp 6400 m it was  about half hour walkings.

On a way a Sherpa from  Italian expedition met us with a thermos of hot tea and then I have gone further alone. I just had asked Mingma to visit our camp next morning. Unfortunately, I had not seen  him again, because  in the  night  Hannah Shields  felt badly and early in the next morning  we began descent to the Base Camp.

VIDEO (wmv file)

 
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