Helicopter Rescuer in the Himalayas

When Air Zermatt pilot Gerold Biner and rescue specialist Bruno Jelk landed in Kathmandu in the spring of 2010, they had no idea what they were about to experience. Their aim was to set up a rescue station in the Himalayas along with a team from the Nepalese helicopter company Fishtail Air. It was to be an adventure at the very limits of the possible. Up to that point, nobody had dared to conduct rescue missions at altitudes of up to 7,000 meters. The risks were thought too great, as only a small number of helicopters are certified to fly so high. The winds and the altitude also make sorties like this unpredictable. The helicopter is unable to hover in the thin air, and the pilots and rescue team must use oxygen to avoid unconsciousness and potential death. Despite this, the Swiss-Nepalese alliance was undeterred, even when their goal was overshadowed by a tragic crash that called everything into question.

For two years, a DOK production team had followed the set-up of the rescue station amid the world's highest mountains, documenting each step of the rescue team's work in Nepal and in Switzerland in Zermatt.

The Film also features personal interviews with the three main figures Gerold Biner, of Air Zermatt, Bruno Jelk, Head of Security and Rescue in Zermatt, and Siddharta Gurung, a pilot in Nepal, as they remember the events of the past few years. They talk about how they have experienced the station set-up phase, reflect once again on the tragic deaths of their colleagues, and consider the sense – and the dangers – of helicopter rescue in the Himalayas. The film also shows how the idea of a rescue station in the region has developed, and the challenges that the Zermatt-Nepal team faces today.

It is an impressive contemporary account of one of the last adventures in aviation, told in a typically matter-of-way by those who were there.

  • Frank Senn
    Director
  • Hari Thapa
    Director
  • Frank Senn
    Producer
  • Hari Thapa
    Producer
  • SRF
    Producer
    Executive Production
  • Marius Born
    Producer
    Executive Production
  • Servus TV
    Producer
    Executive Production
  • Frank Aydt
    Producer
    Executive Production
  • Gerold Biner
    Key Cast
    "Main figure"
    Air Zermatt
  • Bruno Jelk
    Key Cast
    Head of Security and Rescue in Zermatt
  • Siddharta Gurung
    Key Cast
    Helicopter pilot Nepal
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 32 minutes 59 seconds
  • Country of Origin:
    Nepal
  • Language:
    English, Nepali
  • Shooting Format:
    Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF)
    Kathmandu
    Nepal
    December 10, 2013
    3rd Winner
Director - Frank Senn, Hari Thapa