KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Malaysian mountain climber was being treated in a hospital in Nepal’s capital on Friday after being stranded for nearly two days alone near the summit of Annapurna.
A helicopter crew searching for the missing climber on Thursday spotted Wui Kin Chin waving his hands at them, and rescuers brought him down to a lower camp.
At the time of his rescue, Chin had been without an oxygen bottle, food and water for over 40 hours, said Mingma Sherpa, the head of Seven Summit Treks, which arranged his expedition.
Chin was flown to the capital, Kathmandu, on Friday and taken to a hospital, where his wife joined him. Soon after landing, he was given first aid treatment and then moved to the emergency room, medics said.
Nirmal Purja, one of the rescuers, said on Friday that Chin was conscious when they reached him. He said his only words were: “‘Can I have hot water?’ After that, he was completely unconscious.”
Chin is an anesthesiologist and accomplished climber, and Sherpa credited Chin’s medical knowledge and familiarity with mountains for keeping him alive.
“It’s a big thing to stay alive in that altitude without food, water, and oxygen,” Sherpa said. He said the rescue was a “great achievement for the climbing community. I hope that this will help spread a positive message across the climbing world.”
Chin was a part of a 13-member expedition led by a French climber and was separated from the others during the descent.
The 8,091-meter (26,545-foot) Annapurna is the ninth tallest mountain in Nepal and the 10th tallest in the world. It’s considered an especially treacherous mountain due to its difficult terrain and weather conditions.