Footage has emerged of the incredible moment a missing climber was discovered on the side of a mountain in the Himalayas after being spotted by a drone. Experienced Scottish mountaineer, Rick Allen, was returning from a solo climb to the summit of the 8,047m Broad Peak when he lost his footing and fell off an ice cliff.
It was only when a base camp cook spotted his rucksack that the alarm was raised and efforts were made to try and rescue the fallen climber. But it was a Polish climber, Bartek Bargiel, who eventually spotted Allen after he deployed a drone to help find him.
In the astonishing piece of footage, Allen can be seen clinging to the terrifyingly steep slope with ice ax as he prays for a rescue team to find him.
Mr. Allen’s location was relayed to rescue climbers and local sherpas as they battled through the elements to locate the stranded climber. After being guided down to base camp, he was flown by helicopter for treatment — his toes were completely frozen.
Incredibly, despite suffering from cuts and severe frostbite, the internationally recognized climber was in relatively good physical condition. Still, he is fully aware that his fall could have easily resulted in a fatal outcome.
“Wow, that is unbelievable footage from the mountain! Hell, one false move and he’d be thousands of feet to the bottom, Great Footage!” one person commented on the video.
“The mountains look terrifying even on video…” another added.
According to the BBC, Allen said that after he had failed to return as planned from his summit attempt, “a number of people had assessed the situation and come to the conclusion that I was not going to come back”.
“I think Sandy knows me well enough that I can hang in in some pretty tough situations,” he said of his long-time climbing partner, Sandy Allan. “But I think even he was struggling.”
Allen praised the use of the drone to locate him, saying that the images of him perilously stuck on the side of the mountain face “gave everybody hope” that he could be safely rescued.
“He is a tough and strong-willed man and also incredibly lucky that a cook and then the drone spotted him,” Sandy Allan said.
“He’s my best high altitude climbing pal,” he added. “We were convinced he was dead.”
Allen shared that the experience shifted his views on the use of drones in the peace and tranquility of these exquisite mountain ranges.
“This has changed my perception of them,” he said, adding that the buzz of drones overhead would usually irritate him.
“This drone was being driven by pretty smart, young guys,” Allen said. “One of them is planning to ski down K2 while being filmed by the other.”
Drones have become increasingly useful in the aiding of rescue efforts. Just last month, a 75-year-old British man was located after getting stuck in marshes. After being found by a rescue team, he was rushed to hospital and treated for hypothermia.
In November of last year, police used a drone to locate an 81-year-old North Carolina woman who was suffering from dementia.
Drones have also been known to capture some absurd happenings — like this guy, catching a few rays on top of a wind turbine: