HSoN refutes claims of ‘fake rescue’ operation

Kathmandu, January 28

After incidents of ‘fake rescue’ operations conducted by Nepali helicopter operators were highlighted by various national and international media, the Helicopter Society of Nepal (HSoN) has denied their involvement in such practices.

Organising a programme today in the capital, Yog Raj Kandel Sharma, secretary general of HSoN, said that they have serious concerns regarding the fake rescue issue and refuted the claims. “Nepal has been accused of malpractices in the trekking and expedition sector by the national and international media and this is not good for the country when the government is all prepared to celebrate Visit Nepal Year 2020,” he stated.

Similarly, Rameshwor Thapa, chairman of HSoN, also accused the media of carrying false news, which is an irresponsible act on the part of the media. He further stated such news will have a negative impact on the tourism sector of the country.

“There have been news published about unnecessary medical evacuation, unjustified rescue efforts, deliberate attempts to make travellers sick, and also of a nexus between travel agencies, guides and hospitals to dupe money from international insurance companies,” Thapa said. “We would like to clarify that helicopter operators are not involved in any such activity as mentioned in the media.”

Thapa further mentioned that tourism is a long-term business and as responsible companies they would not jeopardise their business for short-term financial gains. “If we are not able to convey the correct message on time the industry could face significant losses in terms of business as well as investments,” he said, adding that this consequently will result in a loss to the national economy.

“This is a genuinely worrying issue for all of us here at HSoN,” he reiterated.

However, a panel formed by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation on July 29 last year had submitted a report recommending action against fake rescuers of mountaineers and trekkers and initiating key reforms to ensure safety, reliability and regularity of services to tourists.

HSoN has also accused the government of not officially publishing the report or notifying them about its findings. “It means the investigation is still in progress. The government, after careful consideration of all facts and truths, must recommend measures on how we can eliminate such malpractices, if any, in the future and action must be taken against those found guilty,” Sharma added.