Amsterdam man helped save five Brits in Himalayas before he disappeared

Christiaan Wilson (Photo: Christiaan Wilson/Facebook)Christiaan Wilson (Photo: Christiaan Wilson/Facebook)

Missing Amsterdam man Christiaan Wilson played a crucial role in a rescue operation at 5,000 meters altitude in the Himalayas before he disappeared last year. A few weeks before his disappearance, Wilson helped keep five British mountaineers with altitude sickness alive long enough for help to come, Het Parool reports.

Wilson disappeared in the Himalayas in May last year. One night in April he was at a base camp at 5,100 meters altitude when five Britons were brought in with life-threatening altitude sickness. Evacuation by helicopter was impossible in the dark, which meant that the mountaineers had a dangerous night ahead of him. With a British army doctor and nurse, Wilson helped keep them alive through the night.

According to the newspaper, the altitude sickness was at such an advanced stage that the mountaineers lost consciousness and did not respond to stimuli. They were placed in a Gamow Bag - an inflatable high pressure bag that tricks the body into believing it is thousands of meters lower than it is. The air in the bag had to be continuously administered with a foot pump. 

While Sherpas went to nearby camps to get extra oxygen tanks and masks, Wilson spent the night on the foot pump, keeping the Gamow bag going. He also gave up some of his clothes for extra heat and helped administer medicine. In the morning a helicopter came and evacuated the British mountaineers. They all survived. 

Wilson told his friends about the experience by phone. After many requests, the British Defense Ministry now confirmed the story, according to the newspaper.

The next morning Wilson continued on his travels alone. On May 15th he sent his last SMS. It is believed that he turned around before reaching the top of the Himalayas - witnesses saw him descend. But since then the only trace of him found was a piece of bright orange helmet. 

On Thursday at 9:00 p.m. the BBN program Breakfree will be about the last search for 35-year-old Christiaan Wilson. 


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