DEATH by Mountain

How did that route get that name? Jokes. Funny bits. Crag humour.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Location: Stellenbosch

Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:02 pm

@Marley

You are correct when you say search and rescue is free. Virtually everyone involved is a volunteer (except for some medics and the pilots). These volunteers cover their own costs voluntarily. The only costs are therefore the salaries of the medics and the pilots as well as the fuel for the helicopter (if one is used). These costs are covered by the state. Something like 70% of all rescues are done without the assistance of a helicopter. So for the vast majority of rescues there are no costs to be charged.

Furthermore, there is a very strong evidence (collected here and overseas) that when people think that they will be charged for a rescue they delay making the call far, far longer than they would have if they knew rescue was free. This causes two things: 1) They usually get more lost and/or hurt and 2) It gets dark which increases the danger to rescuers themselves.
Because of these two reasons the Search and Rescue community in South Africa (and everywhere else) is very strongly against any suggestion that anyone will be charged for being rescued for whatever reason, even blatant negligence.

Sorry for the digression
Happy climbing
Nic

xuri_inti
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by xuri_inti » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:22 pm

Hi,

Rescue services are not free internationally. Not at all. It is actually surprising the fact that they are in SA. I'm not from SA, and before going to climb there what I did is to check how much the rescue services cost so that I was sure my insurance covered me. I was so happy when they (the MCSA) told me it was a free service!!

In Spain, there is a a big discussion right now due to prices of rescue. Every rescue service is charged if the injured/climber/trekker made a misstake or was not correctly prepared for the activity he/she was doing. The problem is to define the exact terms of when you have made a misstake or, on the contrary, it has been an accident, so in the practice few rescue services are being charged today.

The price for a rescue helicopter trip to help you is called 3000 euros...just for the gas. Luckily, the climbing federation pays for the members.

I don't know if it's right or wrong from the moral point of view, but it makes people more careful, and less recuers risk their lifes.

shorti
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by shorti » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:18 pm

Good stuff Hann. It is a little scary how many of the "preparations" I've been neglecting lately. Also, I almost always forget something, food, headlamp, sleeping bag, clean underwear, beanie, tent (ok, thats not forgetting, its mostly left behind because I'm lazy) and maps being the main culprits. I don't think I even have a space blanket. At the moment I can only think of adding a Hat and anti-brand right now.

I have a friend who used to work in search and rescue, you should see all the stuff he duct tapes onto his helmet! Maps, first aid stuff, string and who knows what else.

Mark's story about his friend made me think of one of my favourite movies - Second-hand lions.

I also wondered what exactly we can achieve by all of this. Most route guides are quite specific about the dangers you face and what to do about it. If I remember correctly some of them (Boven's guide comes to mind) even have a section about snakes. A wiki page might help, it might be in vain. What I think I can personally do is try to "educate" the people going with me a little more, but that is also easier said than done. Some people get angry at you if you don't want to take them along and explain that it's too dangerous and they are too inexperienced. Some people are safe(ish) when they are the back seat tag along and it isn't necessarily wrong, but what are they going to do when the oke they tagged gets hurt? The "education" must go both ways too, I like it when someone teaches me something new or remind me about something I've been neglecting. So all in all, I don't think it is bad if everyone does that. Then again most people (especially the wiser ones) do just that.

For Marshall's benefit:
  • Don't get lost
  • Attitude can make a difference
  • If you're gonna die, die with your boots on

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Hann
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Hann » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:35 pm

Shorti,

Me thinks that we can talk, and philosophize and give opinions......

Posting it here has only one positive effect:
It reminds us of the real dangers the mountains and weather holds.
It reminds us not to become blasé, cool and relaxed about our weekend activities, and to pack the rain jacket every time.

jgb
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Real Name: Jacques Breitenbach

Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by jgb » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:45 pm

This is what I know about rescues:

WSAR is an organisation that relies only on donations and volanteers, same with MCSA. Best thing we can maybe do is to make an annual donation and volanteer to help. The air mercy services (the two red choppers that rescue everyone) cost a fortune (something like 100 000 rand just to take off!), but that bill is footed by the western cape health department, believe it or not. The army/airforce will do a recovery operation ie you are dead and they come get your body for free. But if it is a rescue ie you are alive, you will have to pay, and pay before they take off!?! I kid you not! How crazy is that.
I'm not sure what happens outside the western cape.

Marshall1
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Real Name: Derek Marshall
Location: Port Elizabeth

Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Marshall1 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:13 pm

Thanks Shorti...got it!

there are only two options
1. Death by idiot
2. Shit happens

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Hann
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Hann » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:15 pm

Jacques,
That is not quite so.

Airforce also flies free for rescue.
Body recovery is a different story as that is legally police work.
I'm not sure if that is only for RSA citisens.

Nic, Brent (you following this?) care to come in here, you will probably will have the most accurate info on heli fees.

jgb
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Real Name: Jacques Breitenbach

Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by jgb » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:55 pm

Well I kind of speak from experiance having actually been "rescued" by WSAR and getting a free chopper trip in the air mercy helicopter. During our 'debriefing' etc alot of how it works was explained to me.

But this is a great 'thread' so to speak, lets get absolute clarity on this, anyone involved who knows the facts?

Apparently the airforce chopper was ready to come look for us but found out at the last minute we may be 'alive' and cancelled. By the way, the reason this is quite relevant is that the air mercy helicopters are quite small and can only handle 3/4 people, not much when at least 2 of them are rescuers. The big orynx helicopters can take lots (not sure how many) of people and have much longer range etc.

While on the subject, remember not only to take the right gear as you all have been saying, but also to make sure someone back home knows where you went, your intended route and your date of return. Not much help getting stuck/lost and nobody knows you're missing or in what vicinity.

Some of you may be putting 2 and 2 together and figuring my emotions of the start of all this.

Last word: it sounds nice to say that if you die in the mountains at least you died in a nice place etc etc well thats just a crock of s**t, the mountains are not a nice place to die, especially for your familly.

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Hann
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Hann » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:05 pm

A rescue generally runs as below:

1) a emergency call will come in to Metro Control.
2) the nature will be established/estimated.
3) if deemed nessessary a heli will be dispatched.
- generally that will be skymed as the responce time is much faster and it has full life support functions.
- if skymed is a) not available b) many rescuers are required c) it is night time, an Oryx will be dispatched.
- an Oryx flies at R35000 per hour and takes more than an hour to get flight clearance. It can carry 8 to 12 rescuers + rescue packs. It can also fly at night via infra red and instruments. It also can fly in stronger wind.
- Skymed flies at half the cost, and can be in the air in 5 min flat. It only takes 2xtechnical rescuers and 1 medic. It also must be grounded after dark and is more sensitive to high winds.

As for cost.
skymed flies on donation/fuel paid by government and may ask your medical insurance to help with the bill.
under correction, but i don't think they can legally demand medical insurance to pay.

Oryx (SAAF) flies for free because you pay tax.
Hence i don't know about tourists from abroad.

Skymed will fly an search for confirmed patients.
Oryx need patient location for takeoff clearence.

Skymed will fly for body recovery, but I don't know who pays. Probably police as it is their legal duty.

under correction, but I don't believe Oryx will fly for body recovery, except if already at the rescue scene, and need to fetch rescuers in the field.

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Hann
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Hann » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:25 am

For those living in the Stellenbosch, Somersetwest, area.
Perhaps you would like to check out the local MCSA rescue team.
Perhaps even join.
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/gro ... ref=search
Alternatively you can send a PM to
http://www.climb.co.za/forum/memberlist ... file&u=324


For those living in the Cape Town area.
Perhaps you would like to check out the local MCSA rescue team.
Perhaps even join.
http://www.facebook.com/brent.jennings# ... ref=search
Alternatively you can send a PM to
http://www.climb.co.za/forum/memberlist ... ile&u=5337

Nic, Brent. I hope you don't mind.
Let me know and I'll remove this post.

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: DEATH by Mountain

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:58 am

Hi

I have been involved in rescue for some time and so this is not hearsay but is true:

Rescue in South Africa is for free.

The costs associated with rescue, ie helicopters and professional medics etc are covered by your taxes and there are no costs to the person being rescued.

If you have RESCUE insurance (forms part of some overseas Mountain Club membership and travel insurance) you MIGHT be asked to cover the cost from your insurance.

Hann is correct when he says that:
The Red Cross helicopter is smaller, 4-5 people max, and does not fly at night. It will do both rescues and body recoveries. The costs are covered by the provincial government
The SAAF Oryx can take up 18 people, and will fly at night. The Airforce will not do body recoveries unless the recovery forms part of a rescue that they were already tasked for. The costs are either covered by the Airforce, from the training budget, or the provincial government.

Personally I cannot think of a better use of tax payer's money. It sure beats paying for ministers to stay in hotels and buy fancy cars.

@Hann: I don't have a problem with more climbers wanting to join rescue, and I doubt Brent will either. Thanks for the "advert"
Happy climbing
Nic

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