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By Bob Enzel

A most prestigious award was given at the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC

I was privileged to be present when the Laureate Heroism Award was presented to Capt. Daniel Aufdenblatten, pilot of Air Zermatt and Richard Lehner, mountain guide from Zermatt, Switzerland.

These two men performed a record breaking aerial rescue of 3 Spanish mountain climbers from Nepal’s Mount Annapurna. This was a dramatic and daring rescue of the 3 sick and exhausted clumbers at 7,000 meters (23,000 feet.) This hair-raising, knuckle-biting helicopter rescue required Lehner to use the “longline” technique where he had to hang from a long rope acting as a human-sling to individually lift the climbers to safety. Aufdenblatten made aviation history piloting his helicopter during this wild and dangerous rescue as the men dangled in the wind as each of the three were lifted to safety.

The rescue performed at one of the world’s tallest and most dangerous mountains pushed this high-altitude helicopter flight to its limits to save the climber’s lives. Thanks to Fishtail Air and Switzerland’s Air Zermatt these men were saved, but many others also owe their lives to them as they have been rescuing climbers from the Alps for four decades.

The Laureate Award of Aviation Week “honors those who epitomize the values and visions of the global aerospace industry.”

Full information about the award can be found at:




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