A TEENAGER from North Yorkshire was dramatically rescued by Sherpas after being taken seriously ill in the shadow of Mount Everest.
Tom Bunn was struck down by life-threatening altitude sickness as he reached the summit of Kala Patar, 5,500m up in the Himalayas.
However the accompanying Sherpas spotted the problem as the Northallerton College party neared the climax of a 60-mile trek through the Everest range.
And three of them carried Tom and an oxygen cylinder down the mountain in pitch darkness – and sub-zero temperatures – in a four-hour rescue operation to reach a safer, lower altitude.
He was then taken to a hospital where, by pure coincidence, he was treated by three doctors who were from Northallerton and York.
Next day he was joined by the remainder of his party who had trekked six hours to reach him. The decision was made to stay with Tom and call off a planned ascent to Everest base camp.
A fully-recovered Tom, 17, said: “They were all amazing and didn’t give themselves a second thought; they thought of me.
“The sherpas were fantastic and just picked me up and ran down the mountain. The team gave up the chance to reach base camp too which is pretty special. It is certainly an experience I will never forget.”
Despite the setback the epic trip to Nepal was still hailed a big success.
Student Louise Kaye said: “I cried when we reached the top of Kala Patar just in time for the sun to set on Everest; it was just so beautiful.”
Simon Howard added: “It was the best three weeks of my life and now the challenge is adapting back into normal life.”
The college now plans to continue helping Sewa Kendra, an organisation which runs a leprosy clinic in Kathmandu and gets young people into school. Students have already raised £1,000.
Headteacher Mick Hill said: “This really has been the trip of a lifetime. Even before they had left for Nepal they had grown so much as people – having come up with innovative ways of raising the £50,000 the trip cost.
“The three-week trek has helped them develop even further and they have a new found respect and appreciation for life both in this country and abroad. The whole college is very proud of their achievements.”
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