failed rescue attempt on Aconcagua

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Majid_S

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 18, 2009 - 03:32pm PT
http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=18069

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZJCyJinIWU

Detail

http://tomasdinges.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/death-and-the-mountain-video-of-mountain-guide-dying-on-aconcagua/

update

http://www.euronews24.org/world/video-of-failed-mountain-rescue-prompts-inquiry/

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Prosecutors are investigating a failed attempt to rescue an Argentine climbing guide from a blinding snowstorm on the highest peak in the Americas after a video of the rescue expedition aired on national television in Argentina.
The nearly three-minute video shows 31-year-old Federico Campanini struggling on his hands and knees as he was tugged forward on a rope by five rescuers, while another filmed. As violent winds whipped snow across the rocky terrain, Campanini collapsed, and police said he died four hours later with a rescue member by his side.
The dramatic footage, aired repeatedly on television, has provoked public concern that rescuers could have done more on Aconcagua mountain, where more than 4,600 climbers attempted to summit last year. Two policemen and four volunteers on the rescue team were not speaking to the news media on Wednesday.
The guide's parents, Carlos and Monica Campanini, cited the video as proof that the six-member rescue crew allowed their son to die.
Carlos Campanini said the video, which was anonymously delivered to his lawyer a week ago, was excruciating to watch and he doesn't want another climber to be treated the same way.
The people who were around him, let him down, Carlos Campanini told The Associated Press. My son did everything he could to save himself. You could see his desperation to save his life because he had his plans, his ideals, his family and his wife.
But Antonio Ibaceta, who coordinated the operations from base camp for the Mendoza police force, said people viewing the video at home cannot fathom the conditions on the highest peak outside of Asia.
The public has no right to condemn in this way, when what they did was truly an act of solidarity since the men volunteered for the rescue mission, Ibaceta said.
While most experienced climbers take three to four days to scale the 22,841-foot Aconcagua, the rescue crew surged to the top in one day and were suffering severe fatigue in the oxygen-deprived air and minus-58 degree temperatures, Ibaceta said. The video shows crew members stumbling and repeatedly saying how exhausted they are.
He said crews often film rescue efforts to improve subsequent operations and to use as legal evidence in the event of a death.
The prosecutor's office for Mendoza province confirmed it was investigating the rescue attempt and received a copy of the video, but declined to discuss further details.
Environmental Secretary Guillermo Carmona, who oversees Aconcagua park and its employees, emphasized the difficulty of the rescue.
What can be seen in the video is that the rescue squad is trying to do its best amid the existing conditions to evacuate Federico Campanini, Carmona said.
Campanini already was in dire condition when rescuers arrived.
On Jan. 7, he and the four Italian climbers were caught in an afternoon snow storm and strayed from their route. An avalanche then killed an Italian woman and injured Campanini before help arrived to lead the hypothermic survivors down the mountain.
Carmona said the rescue team was in close contact by radio with a public prosecutor whose statements also will be part of the investigation.
Julio Suarez, police spokesman in Mendoza province, expressed concern that the investigation could discourage volunteers from joining future rescue efforts.
They're going to say 'No, because someone can take me to court,' Suarez said.He said that in order to be free from charges of abandonment, every member of the rescue team has to be contributing to the best of his or her ability.That raises questions about whether the person filming the video could have been helping instead. But Mario Gonzalez, founder of the Argentine Association of Mountain Guides, said the video was made in good faith.They didn't shoot the video to incriminate themselves as having abandoned someone, Gonzalez said. I think they filmed it to crudely illustrate the severity of the situation ... for the rescue team, and the grave state of the victim.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:04pm PT
The analysis on everestnews is good - the rescuers didn't have a sleeping bag with them; they were apparently expecting a body recovery. (His father offered this explanation as well). This is a mistake and may be partly due to poor communications. Once they found him, they did the best with what they had, but it was a no-win scenario at that point. So I don't see it as a "violation of ethics code", but as a big mistake.

His father should not have uploaded the video to youtube - what a bonehead move.
Most people are not ready to process that.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:23pm PT
That is horrible! May he rest in peace.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:32pm PT
You telling me those wankers couldn't do more than stand around and tell the 'dude' to get to his feet? The cameraman couldn't put his effing camera down and try to help? They couldn't jury rig a litter? Not exactly technical terrain. Pretty effing pathetic; definitely an "F" for effort.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:35pm PT
The last 300m on the polish is a sloping ridge, not easy for SAR, but six guys should have been able to do a bit better.


Jody's evil twin
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:39pm PT
Looks and reads to me like a bunch of kids going to j-tree with their mom's clothsline.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:40pm PT
Clint I disagree with posting the video. It has and will spark a good discussion. Sometimes we as climbers need a good jolt. Sadly it typically takes a death or other serious accident to have such a discussion.

For instance, though the rescue party were not prepared to find a live person what were they prepared to do if they found a body? Bury him in the rocks? Recover the body? If so how did they plan to move it? Seems they would have a tarp to wrap the body in. Had they had one seems that it could have been used to move a body or a person. Failing that what about using a pack to assist? As said above could they have jury rigged something?

From just that snippet we can question the competence of the "rescue" party. What else was going on at the same time?? Finally, we must remember the mountains are a cold harsh womb and are a place where we cannot expect any love when we make the decision to venture out.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
They hauled him up 100m, and still had 300-400m to get to the summit. That doesn't merit an F. An F might be if they waited a day to look for him.

They must have been totally gassed to give up. One guy was calling him an idiot* - you don't say that unless you are spent and have no energy to be sociable. [* Edit: the transcript on www.mounteverest.net, translated from Spanish, originally said "Get up, idiot!" early this afternoon, but it has been changed and now says "Get up, cuńado (dude/mate)!" I don't know much Spanish, so I was going by the transcript - the new translation sounds much more probable.]

There will always exist in theory some marginal conditions where a rescue has to be abandoned to save the rescuers instead. Unfortunately this looks like it was such a situation.

It does seem weird that they brought a video camera and not a sleeping bag. Also if the team was dead tired, I agree with Reilly that the video guy should have been helping haul instead of using the camera.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
Scared Silly,

Maybe you are right that the video will probably help bring about a realistic discussion. I think most climbers can understand the situation involved. I don't think the general public will understand, but I could be wrong. Maybe it will help them understand, or maybe not.

News media is often looking for stories that have an edge of moral outrage. But the decisions of the rescuers after finding him and not having a sleeping bag have to be calculated, including their own survival. And the circumstances of deciding to not bring a sleeping bag should be explained.

If it was my son, I wouldn't post the video. It looks more like he released it to the local news media, and then it made its way to youtube. I don't think Federico Campanini would have wanted it released.
Veghed

climber
the desert
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
It is Jerry-rig, not jury-rig. From WWII I think. (Sorry, I'm a teacher.)
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Veghed,
It is 'jury rig' so you can get the prize to the prize jury for determination of the prize allocation. It goes back to the 18th if not 17th century.
Veghed

climber
the desert
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
Source?
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Feb 18, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
condolences to the families, the client perished as well(?), can't imagine how hard it must be to move someone at that altitude. Seemed like only one guy in the vid was attemping to get him to his feet maybe they should have ganged up a bit more. I agree, put the f@#king camera down and help, but it easy to make decisions here, no so, near the summit in a storm at altitude
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:02pm PT
Setting aside the whole coulda shoulda woulda...

how could any father FAIL TO BE OUTRGED after seeing his son treated so?????

DMT
jstan

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
According to the first link the father has initiated litigation. If that does play out, a lot of things may well change.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
UT
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:09pm PT
Clint, I am not sure even climbers will understand the situation. Just look at the comments so far.

Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:15pm PT
The jerry - jury debate :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rig
is the source for "jury rig"
"Jerry" was the name given to German soldiers.


Back to the OP, it is revolting that the camera guy kept rolling on this fellow. What was the point in that ? I hope it helps the father in his lawsuit.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:16pm PT
I think we understand it just fine. That could be anyone of us.

I would STILL be outraged if that were my kid.

If litigation puts a damper on 7-Summit commerical mountaineering bullsh#t?

Good.

DMT
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:20pm PT
"I am not sure even climbers will understand the situation"

Huh? I may not be in the same class as many here but I've been on more than my share of rescues in the NW. At least we tried. We also attempted to show the victims some compassion and at least try to ease their suffering instead of standing around and belittling them.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 18, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
DMT,

> how could any father FAIL TO BE OUTRGED after seeing his son treated so?????

They could if they were sure the rescue team did the best they could, given that they had brought no sleeping bag.

To be fair, what mother would fail to be outraged that her husband had released a video of her son dying in weakness and indignity. 203,000+ views on youtube and 863+ comments, so far.
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