Wednesday, February 07, 2018

THE WIFE of a Naas-based mountain climber who is missing in the Himalayas has thanked the rescuers who tried to reach her husband.

Tomas (Tomek) Mackiewicz was on his way down the ‘Killer Mountain’ when he was hit with acute mountain sickness, snow blindness and frostbite. He was an experienced and well-known climber and had made numerous attempts at the climb during the more daring winter months.

The father of three, who lives near Naas with his family, had reached the summit with his French climbing partner Elisabeth Revol on 25 January. The pair were on their way back down when they ran into difficulty. Tomek became snowblind and both were suffering from serious frostbite. Sadly, he was in a critical condition was unable to descend any further, leaving Elisabeth with no choice but to continue without him.

Naas-based mountain climber Tomas (Tomek) Mackiewicz who is missing in the Himalayas

She managed to contact a Polish rescue team on K2 by satellite phone and the climbers made a heroic attempt to reach the pair. Despite -40C temperatures, they managed to rescue Elisabeth after they were dropped off by a Pakistani military helicopter at 4,900 metres.

Due to extremely harsh conditions, including a wind chill factor of -62C and winds of 80kph, they were forced to abandon the search for Tomek.

“The pair did not have a tent and were light on supplies, hoping to descend quickly. Deteriorating weather and high altitude made it impossible for the rescuers to reach him,” said a friend, Masha Gordon, who set up a GoFundMe page for Tomek’s family. The page has already passed its €150,000 goal, which will go towards a deposit needed for the rescue helicopter that saved Ms Revol. The private funding is necessary for a recovery mission under Pakistani law. The money will also go towards providing for his family.

Tomek’s wife, Anna Antonina Solska, spoke to Polish television station TVN 24 on Sunday. She said she knew rescuers had done everything they could to save her husband.

“The whole action of the team from K2 was also unbelievable,” she said. “I can repeat hundreds and thousands of times that I thank you very much. My gratitude is bottomless.”

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By Lynda Doyle
Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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