Monday, August 21, 2017

Musa in payment dispute with helicopter company for rescue off Indonesian peak

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-06-19 19:39:42 BdST

bdnews24

Musa Ibrahim and his teammates have landed in new trouble after five days of being stranded on Indonesia’s Mount Carstenz.

The helicopter that rescued them from a base camp up more than 4,000 metres on Monday was demanding US$11,000 as payment.

Musa alleged that officials of helicopter service provider AsiaOne seized their passports. The company told bdnews24.com that they would release the mountaineers only after receiving full payment.

AsiaOne managed to evacuate the team at 5:23am Monday, after its third attempt to reach the Lake Valley base camp where Musa and his Indian teammates, Satyarup Siddhanta and Nandita Chandrashekhar, were stranded by bad weather.

The helicopter flew the mountaineers back to Timika airport in Papua Province, bringing a huge sigh of relief to their families. But Musa and Satyarup soon posted on Facebook that their adventure was not over.

“They were the ones who were late to reach us on Sunday. The weather became bad when they flew to the base camp at 10am. So this is entirely the company’s responsibility because we were ready to leave at 6am,” Musa wrote on Facebook.

"They went back from a place near the base camp. We saw the helicopter. We then waited with our flag to signal the helicopter when it came back. Now the helicopter company wants payment for three trips.”

The team on the expedition named ‘Bangladesh-India Friendship Expedition to Mt Carstenz Pyramid’ scaled the mountain’s highest summit on Jun 13.

They decided to stop trekking on Jun 15 and began contacting home for a helicopter off the mountain after team member Nandita fell ill amid bad weather and low supply.

In a message sent to bdnews24.com Satyarup’s GPS communicator on Sunday, Musa said they were relying on food left behind by previous climbers in the base camp.