The word “global” in GPS may soon be taking on a new aspect. A tragic accident in the Himalayas prompted the government in Nepal to institute new safety rules, including a requirement that trekkers be equipped with GPS trackers before setting out.
Last October a blizzard triggered a number of avalanches in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas. The storm claimed at least 43 casualties, including 21 trekkers from Israel, Japan, Canada and several other countries around the world. While the remaining 22 were guides, porters and villagers from Nepal, most trekkers around that route do not hire guides.
Thanks to the largest rescue mission in Nepal, 518 stranded trekkers were rescued and taken to safety. Hundreds of soldiers, police and local officials were involved in the efforts that also incorporated every available helicopter in the country.
According to Tulasi Gautam of Nepal’s Tourism Department, the high number of casualties was a result of trekkers traveling without experienced guides. Gautam says they continued their journey hoping to beat the storm instead of taking proper safety precautions.
Taking a GPS tracking unit along gives authorities a way to locate trekkers in the case of an emergency. Another new rule mandates that trekkers must be accompanied by trained local guides. There are also plans to improve the weather forecasting system in order to better alert mountaineers of bad conditions.
The Nepalese government has maintained a registration system for mountain trekkers, but only foreigners were required to check in and no one was required to check out. This system will now be strictly enforced with all trekkers checking in and out. These new rules will be instituted in time for the next trekking season in the spring.
If GPS systems can improve the safety of trekkers high above the world, they can provide priceless benefits for your vehicles and equipment down here on level ground. Find out how GPS Trackit protects your fleet and other valuable assets today with a free demo of our solutions and tools.