Every year, hundreds of climbers and Sherpas attempt to scale one of the most beautiful and dangerous wonders of the world: Mount Everest. For every 10 people who reach the summit, one will die trying. It’s dangerous, it’s difficult and it’s death-defying — for the lucky. With the margin of error between life and death so fine, the fate of even the most experienced climbers and Sherpas rests in the hands of the world’s most elite band of helicopter pilots.
EVEREST RESCUE journeys to the tops of the treacherous Everest Himalayan Mountains, highlighting the work of a rare breed of pilots who put their lives on the line to save those facing certain death. The series features exclusive access to a group of diverse helicopter pilots as they manage emergency calls during the 2016 climbing season as well as intimate interviews with them and their loved ones.
The adrenaline-filled, six-part series debuts on Sunday, January 8th at 9pm ET on Discovery Channel. EVEREST RESCUE will air on Sundays, skipping February 5, and concluding February 19. In addition, virtual reality extras will be available on DiscoveryVR.com. Shot over three days with rigged VR cameras on helicopters, these two exclusive pieces transport viewers to the mountain where Sir Edmund Hilary and his team made those first historic steps up the Southern Face of Everest to the summit. They feature a detailed tour of the mountain and an inside look at Lukla — the world’s most dangerous airport. EVEREST RESCUE begins airing in markets around the world in early January.
The thrilling series follows each pilot as he and his team venture on nail-biting missions to save stranded climbers as well as some men and women from the surrounding villages. These rescue missions are made even riskier because of the limited amount of time there is to complete them due to the high altitude. Among the pilots featured in EVEREST RESCUE is veteran Jason Laing (New Zealand) and rookies Ryan Skorecki (America) and Lorenz Nufer (Switzerland).
Even when flying a B3 helicopter, a special high altitude machine featured in the series, there is very little room for error. “Just because you can fly at that altitude does not mean you can land at that altitude,” explains Skorecki. He goes on to reveal that he has a huge fear of simply landing the aircraft successfully. “You are sent out there to try and help someone out and if you have a problem, not only do you not help that person you have created an even bigger problem.”
Many of these pilots feed off of the adrenaline and adventure. As climbing season begins, veteran Laing is in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, with his partner Robyn and one year-old daughter Tara. Laing explains how he has “…always been looking for challenges, things off the beaten track.” His passion drives his dedication to save the people he has never met.
In EVEREST RESCUE, Laing and his colleagues work to save a group of climbers in one of the most remote areas of the mountains. It is a difficult place to reach by helicopter because of the ever changing weather patterns and the inevitable darkness of night. Laing explains that he tries “…real hard to put all emotions aside. Darkness isn’t too far away. I’m worried they will die tonight.”
It’s not only one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, but also an emotional rollercoaster, which takes a toll on these pilots’ personal lives. Many continue the work to be part of a team that helps save people’s lives, a selfless and harrowing act in its own right.