18 January 2017: Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been evacuated by air from the higher slopes of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina after suffering a crippling back problem as he made a push for the summit.
The veteran explorer was left unable to continue the climb. Armed with Inmarsat’s IsatPhone 2 satellite phones, the climbing team was able to call for help from the mountainside. A helicopter evacuated Sir Ranulph to provincial capital Mendoza, from where he was due to fly to the UK on Wednesday.
To complete his Global Reach Challenge in aid of charity Marie Curie and claim a world first, Sir Ranulph still needs to successfully climb Aconcagua, Mount Carstenz in Indonesia and Denali in North America.
As well as back problems the adventurer, who had a double heart bypass following two heart attacks, also has to contend with vertigo and Cheyne-Stokes, a condition which debilitates his breathing at high altitudes, but is determined not to allow failing health to prevent him reaching a lifetime’s personal fundraising total of £20 million.
This was still his main concern as he sent a message to Inmarsat while waiting for his flight home: “I would like to thank you all for the continued Inmarsat support, all of which has proved superb and allowed us to get some brilliant PR coverage for Marie Curie with the BBC and more.”
Del Ashley, Director of Solutions Engineering for Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “We all wish Sir Ranulph a full and speedy recovery.”
Aconcagua was the latest challenge in Sir Ranulph’s bid to become the first person to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on every continent.