Indian Army expedition team to Mt. Everest returns

 Their bid to scale Mount Everest to mark golden jubilee of the first Indian conquest of the peak might have been hit by the Nepal quake but members of an Indian Army expedition team are happy that they could help nearly 80 people at 17,500 feet.

New Delhi: Their bid to scale Mount Everest to mark golden jubilee of the first Indian conquest of the peak might have been hit by the Nepal quake but members of an Indian Army expedition team are happy that they could help nearly 80 people at 17,500 feet.

"The regret of not climbing is there but we are happy that we were at the base camp of the Mount Everest when the avalanche came. We were able to rescue nearly 80 people," said Major Ranveer Singh Jamwal, the leader of the Indian Army's expedition team which returned today.

Jamwal, along with 29 other members of the team, was at the base camp when the quake struck leading to a massive landslide. However, the team was able to recover quickly and reach out to the needy.

"As I saw the avalanche approaching from both sides, my thoughts were about safety of my team. All I could do was shout out instructions and hope that the team was able to hear me," Jamwal told PTI here.

Jamwal and his team are back in India after the Nepalese authorities said the climb cannot happen because of the damage caused by earthquake.

For about 70 climbers on the Mount Everest base camp, Major Ritesh Goel of the Indian Army was a "life saver" at 17,500 feet.

Goel, who has also served in the Siachen, was part of the the Indian Army expedition team.

The 28-year-old not only provided first-aid and stabilised nearly 70 climbers, some with broken legs and hands, but also managed eight persons with serious head injuries for about 14-hours before they were rescued by helicopters.

"The intense training regime that we followed helped," Goel said when asked if he would credit their escape to luck.

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