The Accident at Tashi Lapsa Pass – Part Six: Heroes

In part five of The Accident, Lakpa and Uttam have overcome some treacherous terrain to reach the emergency evac Helicopter which will get Louise to badly needed medical treatment.  


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We are preparing for the helicopter’s arrival.

As we watch it approach, it suddenly takes a left turn and heads up the adjacent valley towards Thangbo. Somehow the message had been given that it was to pick us up from Thangbo rather than Thame. We’re more than aware of the irony of how welcome that would have been two hours earlier.

Lakpa gets back on the phone and starts shouting at whomever answers that there had been a communication mistake and that we were now in Thame, not Thangbo. Five minutes later, the helicopter is back and turning left again.

It slows and starts its careful descent onto the ridge near where we’re waiting. “Hang on”, warns Lakpa, “it’s going to get very windy and cold”. Nima reaches forward to cover my face with my jacket hood. The wind and dust – not to mention the noise created by the landing chopper – were indeed tremendous and everyone has their faces averted and eyes covered.

Once landed, the pilot signals for us to board quickly with a wave of his arm. Because the helicopter was perched on such a narrow ridge he could not afford to turn off the engine.

Lakpa says to me; “I’m coming back with you to Lukla”. After all that he’s done for me today, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The two pilots remain in the helicopter while a third person: the Mountain Air Helicopter company liaison officer, jumps out of the back seat to assist Lakpa, Nima and Uttam to load me into the roaring little machine. I hardly had time to register the pain in my leg as the four men picked me up out of the doko and moved me effortlessly into the back seat of the helicopter. I sit in the middle of the back seat, still holding my leg. Our bags are thrown on the seat on my right side and the liaison officer jumps in next to me on my left. Lakpa, boards the helicopter, almost sitting on the liaison officer’s lap. The engines rise in pitch and then slowly, precisely, we move off the ridge.

Below the rising helicopter, Uttam and Nima wave as we ascend, with Nima still clutching the doko. I feel a lump rising in my throat and my eyes blur over.

It has been six hours since beginning the journey off the glacier at Ngole with me sitting in a doko, holding my broken and bleeding leg together, while being carried on the backs of three extraordinary young men.

Uttam, Nima, and most especially, Lakpa; you are, and will always be my heroes.


The Author and Lakpa Sherpa in 'happier' times. (pic: Louise Currie collection)

The Author and Lakpa Sherpa in ‘happier’ times. (pic: Louise Currie collection)




About Louise Currie

Originally from Australia, although I have been living in Nepal since 2005. I worked for a long time for an international aid agency in Kathmandu. I am interested in community development and having adventures in remote places. I am married with one daughter.


  1. Emma Westwood says

    Really enjoying your story, Louise, although not envious of that experience – horrifying! It’s the seemingly little things (like needing to go to the toilet) that become such big things in times of emergency. Really makes you think.

  2. Louise Currie says

    Hi Emma

    Thanks. Yes, the bladder ordeal was as bad as the leg by the time I reached the hospital :)


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