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Helicopter Rescue Scam

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
18,755 posts
63 reviews
49 helpful votes
Helicopter Rescue Scam
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The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is looking into the heli rescue and hospitalosation scam:

https://www.airmedandrescue.com/story/112972/focus-helicopter-evacuations-nepal

The insurance company rep describes "expedition" scams but the method applies to trekking too, no doubt.

Any predicitions for change or otherwise?

scoodly

United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23,929 posts
87 reviews
141 helpful votes
1. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Before I retired I was involved in a number of investigations into this kind of scam being perpetrated against U.K. travel insurers and underwriters.

The tests and investigations done in the clinics and hospitals were often massively disproportionate to the symptoms the patient originally complained of, and in some cases the heli-evac wasn’t clinicially justified at all.

Whangarei, New...
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1,991 posts
61 reviews
16 helpful votes
2. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Hi scoodly

About time someone put an end to this scam. Unfortunately, the authorities have ignored what was going on and will now have to face the pendulum swinging the other way with rescues not taking place and Nepal ending up in the news for dead trekkers.

Eric

My Nepal Pages https://wanderingeric.org/category/nepal/

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
18,755 posts
63 reviews
49 helpful votes
3. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Mon, sometimes the claimants are involved, deliberately defrauding insuring companies to get a 'free' ride back to Kathmandu (most often). However, other times they are not the prime scammers and are duped or persuaded that an evacuation by guides seeking a fat kick-back from the helicopter companies. They are then taken to hospital for all that over-investigation and kept almost as prisoners because the hospital takes possession of theor passport until the insurance company pays or the 'patient' does.

The innocent suffer of course in the form of increased premiums - or large excesses for heli evacuation - but you know all this Mon!

Eric, yes it could be worse than a financial penalty, possible refusal of an evacuation when it is necessary because of concerns of a fraudulent claim. Deaths could follow as a result.

My prediction of an outcome of the Ministry's investigation: diddly squat.

scoodly

Espoo
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3,807 posts
4. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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If I understood correctly the insurance companies have set up a person in Kathmandu who assesses the required rescues and gives a no-go to clear fraud attempts. It was just about time something like this was done by the insurance companies. It did take time, I just checked my old e-mails and found the messages I sent to several large insurance companies already in 2011 asking about this problem. They were not much interested. Now they are...

On the Nepal side nothing is going to happen, too much money rolling in, and the people in the government department are too closely attached to the helicopter operators and scam hospitals that they would even try to kill the milking cow. On the surface they have an investigation unit whose aim is to sweep the problem back under the rug. This scam started at least 8 years ago, they would have had time to react, which they did not do until the insurance companies together threatened to stop insuring tourists to Nepal.

Kathmandu, Nepal
2 posts
1 review
5. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Nepal Government's Tourism Department recently started the Investigation of Helicopter rescue records that taking place from 2015. Hopefully it will bring out the measure to stop any unnecessary Heli rescue in the Himalayas in future, which most be done to allure more traveller into Nepal. Such medical Heli rescue is at the same time important to save the lives of hundred of trekkers, climbing and porters.

The great contrast of initial finding and reports of this investigation is that the Trip advisor top most rated trekking companies such as Ace the Himalaya, Nepal Hiking team, Himalayan Social journeys, unique adventure, Nepal environmental trek, Nepal vision trekking company etc along with most of the Helicopter companies and hospital including the well know Ciwec hospital are under investigation (source www.capitalnepal.com/news/13048 )

Espoo
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3,807 posts
6. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Saving the lives of hundreds of trekkers? There were no helicopter rescues in the eighties, and only a handful of trekkers and climbers died of AMS. Now a lot more is known about AMS and how to avoid it, and even though the number of trekkers has increased, the number of trekkers whose lives are "saved" by heli-evac can not be in hundreds. Rather in dozens.

But of course all those involved would hate to see this money machine pass.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
18,755 posts
63 reviews
49 helpful votes
7. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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Progress?

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/panel-proposes-action-against-fake-rescuers/

scoodly

Aalborg, Denmark
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417 posts
9 reviews
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8. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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The best thing anybody trekking in Nepal can do is to educate themselves on what a trek is and ams.

Far to many come without knowledge as Nepal is a cheap trekking country. It makes them easy prey to the scammers looking for quick profit.

The 2014 tragedy on the AC trail resulted in a lot of talk and nothing to show for it.

The tourists looking for a quick ride down, well nothing good can be said about them.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
Level Contributor
18,755 posts
63 reviews
49 helpful votes
9. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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i agree maj and I would that some trekking agents and guides need to educate themselves about safe acclimatisation going by some of the itineraries they post. The dishonest ones who put people at risk and manipulate a rescue to get a fat kick-back are probably beyond redemption.

The article says:

"The panel has recommended further investigation into three helicopter companies, four hospitals, and eight travel, trekking and rescue companies and for cases to be filed against them under The Revenue Leakage (Investigation and Control) Act-1995. Those recommended for further investigation have claimed insurance at high costs and earned an excessive profit without a valid source..."

I hope the companies are named at some point.

scoodly

Lake District...
Destination Expert
for Nepal, Kathmandu
Level Contributor
7,018 posts
39 reviews
28 helpful votes
10. Re: Helicopter Rescue Scam
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I agree with the above posters. But unfortunately it isn’t just “some trekking agents and guides need to educate themselves about safe acclimatisation” as some trekker posters on here advocate breaching safe acclimatisation guidelines set my noteworthy authorities such as http://ismm.org/prevention/ as this tread illustrates https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k11362415-o10-Nepal_in_april-Nepal.html

Oh Hum

Rob

USDUSD
Australia
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