28 April 2017: A team of Gurkhas who survived the Nepal earthquake in 2015 are back on Mount Everest to reattempt their summit bid.
Exactly two years after the 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck, triggering a huge avalanche that killed 22 climbers, the soldiers are preparing for another attempt at becoming the first serving Gurkhas to climb to the top of the mountain, while raising funds for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
Inmarsat has supplied the team with an ultra-portable Explorer 710 terminal, which supports superior quality live TV broadcasts using BGAN HDR, two IsatPhone 2 satellite phones, and an iSavi IsatHub terminal to use with their own smart devices, along with free airtime.
The comprehensive selection of kit will support media coverage of the climb and allows the soldiers to stay in touch with family and friends. With IsatPhone 2, they have the added reassurance of the handset’s distress button and GPS tracking functions.
The Gurkhas were at Everest Base Camp and Camp 1 when the first of the two Nepal earthquakes, which together claimed nearly 9,000 lives, struck on 25 April 2015. On the deadliest day in the mountain’s history, theirs was the only team on Everest not to lose any members.
The expedition team helped 60 injured climbers and managed the evacuation by helicopter of everyone stranded at Camp 1 before travelling back to Kathmandu to support the Brigade of Gurkhas’ relief efforts for their own people in their own country. Expedition leader Major Andrew Todd and his team were awarded nine commendations for bravery as a result of their actions.
Speaking from Camp 1, at 6,000m (19,685ft), Maj Todd said: “The Inmarsat kit is amazing – absolutely exceptional. We have the best comms set-up on the mountain and it’s enabling us to be operationally effective as well as providing an important welfare link to the families, followers and supporters back at home.”
Andy Start, President of Inmarsat Global Government, said: “We are proud to support the Gurkha Everest Expedition, and applaud the courage of the soldiers in returning to the scene of such devastation.
“By supplying the team with Inmarsat satellite equipment, we are helping them to stay safe on the mountain and give their loved ones the reassurance of being able to keep in touch.”