08.11.2008

Today we had yet another failed departure to base camp. At 5 a.m. we were already at the airport at full strength, awaiting the helicopter from Cayman, where a large passenger aircraft seating up to 100 passengers crashed two days ago.

The helicopter arrived in Nabire thirty minutes late, and it turned out that the maintenance personnel needed another two hours to remove special appliances used on the helicopter to transport plane wreckage. It appeared that we would not be able to leave for base camp before 9 a.m. – which was too late given the risk, that base camp would be shrouded with clouds. Grigory was constantly in touch with us, saying that the clouds were rising higher and higher. Eventually we decided not to risk and rescheduled the departure for tomorrow.

Some more facts: the Indonesian airline SkyExpress started operating on November 3 of this year, and the plane that crashed when landing in Cayman, was only making its second flight. According to a preliminary version, the pilot landed unsuccessfully, causing the loss of one landing gear. The plane started to bank to the side and fall apart, littering the entire runway with debris.

Luckily, none of more than 100 passengers died. It turned out that this was the exact plane which our local guides were supposed to board on their way to Manado. They got a callfrom airline representatives who said they were sorry they could not transport them, to which our guides thanked them very much.

This would cause a normal person to suffer a nervous breakdown.

Meanwhile, Sergey is keeping his cool! Even making jokes about this!!