The business of Saving Lives – Ang Tashi sherpa Talks about his experience of working as a rescue specialist with Simrik air.
Ang Tashi Sherpa is a rescue specialist who has been working for Simrik Airlines for the past 12 years. He has a number of successful rescue operations under his belt, including at Everest camp 2, Ama Dablam Camp 2, 3 Island Peak High Camp, and Manaslu.
“Joining Simrik Air has been my right choice,” he says. “Here, I discovered my true calling, which is rescuing lives.” Sherpa worked for a number of airlines before joining Simrik, which was founded in 2001 by a group of experienced aviation professionals. It was at Simrik that Sherpa met Nepal’s rotarywing veterans and aviation rescue specialists like Capt. Rameshwar Thapa, Capt. Siddartha Jang Gurung, Capt. Surendra Paudel, and Tshering Pande Bhote. With a solid track record and trustworthy services, Simrik Airlines has made a name for itself as one of the leading airlines. Sherpa says he is proud to be a part of one of the top helicopter service and rescue providers in Nepal.
“We have highly qualified and exceptional engineers and management team that is capable of not just providing safe and reliable transport and cargo delivery service, but also carrying out high altitude search and rescue missions, and medical evacuation,” says Sherpa. Born in the highlands of Solukhumbu, home to Mt Everest, Sherpa grew up in the laps of the Himalayas. He feels he has a special relationship with the mountains and its people. In a way, Sherpa was destined to become a rescue specialist, which is not a job for the faint-hearted. Besides being brave, one also needs to be skilled in various disciplines and a great team worker to become a successful rescue specialist. The job requires courage, skill and team play in equal measures.
”Courage and skill can only take you so far,” says Sherpa. “No rescue operation can be successful if you do not have a great ground staff and flight crew.”
In addition, he adds, training and maintenance of aircraft is also a critical Ang Tashi Sherpa talks about his experience of working as a rescue specialist with Simrik Air aspect of a successful rescue mission. “You get all these at Simrik. We have highly professional staff members and top-notch resources.”
Simrik Air collaborates internationally with Air Zermatt, a Swiss airline that routinely instructs rescuers in new procedures and techniques. Sherpa recalls that as the rescue team had fewer members earlier, they had to travel to Switzerland for training.
“But now we have more rescuers, and Swiss trainers travel to Nepal to enhance our rescue operation capability,” he says. Simrik makes sure to regularly orient its crew, employees, medical team, and rescue team in order to assure the Simrik is pioneer in Nepal for holding great rescue operation equipment customer’s safety and well- being. The company keeps its workers up to date on new tools and equipment by involving them in practical training exercises like Sling Operation and Long-line Operation Medical Evacuation, and many other flight services.
Besides exceptional and well-trained team members, Simrik Airlines also has high- performing helicopters like AS350B3E and BELL 407GXP, one of the newest models utilized in Nepal, which performs well even in high winds. “You don’t get this level of professionalism and service outside Simrik,” says Sherpa. “For example, Bambi bucket, which is an aerial fighting service was introduced and is solely with Simrik in Nepal.”
Bambi bucket training sessions are frequently led by Simrik captains to give participants first-hand experience with the specialized tools used in water-based firefighting operations.
Sherpa says Simrik holds the pioneer position in Nepal for holding great rescue operation equipment, cutting-edge aircrafts, vital operations like long line, sling lifting, and other flights with highly qualified and competent crew working in many sectors.
Sherpa feels Simrik has prepared him and instilled the confidence to carry out rescue operations in any part of the country. But all rescue works are not alike. Sometimes, people lose their lives while waiting to be rescued, because rescuers cannot reach the site on time due to bad weather, or delayed paperwork from the government authorities.
Sherpa feels the government can do better when it comes to its modernizing system to issue permits for emergency rescue works. He says it is difficult to get the paperwork finalized for emergency rescue operations on restricted areas like Lomanthang.
“We do not get swift permission from the government to carry out an emergency operation sometimes, which is tragic because this delay could be a matter of life and death,” says Sherpa. “At Simrik, we do not consider hauling up lifeless bodies a successful mission.” Sherpa and his colleagues at Simrik are in the business of saving and connecting lives. They wish the government to be equally invested.
The Annapurna Express Spectrum
17th March, 2023