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Canadian Don Bowie Helps with Rescue in Himalayas

He was part of a team to top climbers who rescued Dr. Francesco Cassardo from Gasherbrum VII

Canadian Don Bowie recently helped in the rescue of Dr. Francesco Cassardo, an Italian climber injured last Saturday at over 6,300 metres on Gasherbrum VII. Bowie, along with Carlalberto Cala Cimenti, Denis Urubko, Jaroslaw Zdanowich, Janusz Adamski and Marco Confortola likely saved Cassardo’s life.

Cassardo, 30, fell during his climb and suffered a number of serious injuries. Cimenti had just skied from the summit initiated the rescue and spent the first night with Cassardo. The helicopter couldn’t reach them, so Bowie and the others transported him down to camp one at 5,900 metres where he spent a night on supplemental oxygen. The following morning, a helicopter was able to reach them and take Cassardo to the Combined Military Hospital in Skardu. His condition is better than first thought and all of the other climbers are safely back in base camp.

Bowie has been climbing in the Gasherbrum area for the past month or so. His most recent update has been about their efforts to climb the Banana Ridge on Gasherbrum II between camps one and two.

Cimenti said the following after the rescue: “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!!”

Cimenti went on to say: “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.”

Don Bowie, Marco Confortola, Cala Cimenti and Denis Urubko Photo Cala Cimenti