Procedure for helicopter evacuation
Helicopter evacuation process varies in the Indian sub-continent. While in Nepal and Bhutan it is a fairly easy process to get a helicopter for evacuation, same is not the case for India. In India helicopter evacuation is not done immediately though we have been able to get helicopter for rescue within 2 hrs notice in Ladakh, where it is still easier than the rest of the Indian Himalaya as the Indian Air Force have a huge base in Leh.
In case of an evacuation by helicopter the concerned insurance company of the client is informed by us. We also have to inform the concerned Embassy/Consulate office in India as clearance from various ministries, including that from the District Commissioner of Leh, is required for same.
Rimo stand as a guarantee of payment to the concerned department of the Indian Air Force. Two choppers are always sent in Ladakh as this is a sensitive area and the charges of 2 choppers from hangar to hangar are charged between US$2000/- to US$2500/- per hour, so about US$5000/- per hour.
Due to the difficulties and long process in getting choppers, we do not call one unless there is such an emergency.
The hospitals in Ladakh cannot cater to critical care conditions. The Army hospital in Leh can cater to such requirements. However, anyone requiring immediate medical attention is flown out to Delhi – 1 hrs flight and 3-5 flights a day. Before doing this we would have contacted the insurance provider of the client and they usually have a representative in Delhi who then take over and handle everything.
We find that East West Medical Centre, who also conduct rescue operations, act fast in emergency cases (we’ve dealt with 2 critical conditions in Sikkim and Kumaon). The contact doctor is Dr.Chawla - +91 9811029283. He contacts the medical insurance company and takes over totally.
Each member should share their medical / emergency insurance policy numbers and a copy each of everyone’s passport and India Visa as the same is required for emergency.