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Hillsboro Aviation Graduate Performs Highest-Altitude Long Line Rescue in History
The highest-altitude long line rescue in history was recently performed in Nepal by a cooperative effort between Switzerland’s Air Zermatt and Fishtail Air, a charter helicopter company based in Nepal. Air Zermatt’s Captain Daniel Aufdenblatten, who piloted the helicopter and performed the rescue, is a Hillsboro Aviation graduate.
The April 29 rescue operation took place on the north face of Nepal’s Mount Annapurna, the world’s tenth highest mountain. Three climbers from a Spanish expedition where rescued from camp four located an elevation of 22,900 feet. Landing in the terrain was not possible so Captain Aufdenblatten, along with Swiss Mountain Guide Richard Lehner, used the long line to lift the stranded climbers. They were evacuated one-by-one to base camp after enduring 36 hours on Mount Annapurna.
Aufdenblatten, a Swiss citizen, began his training at Hillsboro Aviation in November 2003. After graduating from the Helicopter Professional Pilot Program, he worked for Hillsboro Aviation as a flight instructor. In 2006, he became a pilot for Air Zermatt.
“The training I received at Hillsboro Aviation provided me with a strong foundation that I have used throughout my career and prepared me for operations such as this rescue," Aufdenblatten said.