Meet The Pilots

Everest Rescue Video Bios

Meet The Pilots

Meet the team of pilots who risk their lives everyday to save those stuck on the mountain

Name: Jason Laing

Job title: High altitude pilot

Age: 48

Nationality: New Zealander

Jason was awarded Helicopter Association International's Pilot of The Year 2016 for his rescue and recovery efforts following the 2014 Nepalese icefalls as well as the tragic 2015 Nepalese earthquake. Jason does not regard himself as a hero and says he was just doing his job.

Raised in the South Island of New Zealand, Jason left school at age 14. After learning to fly in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, Jason's skills as a pilot have taken him to Australia, Northern India (Kashmir), Nepal and Antarctica. Jason has also crewed racing yachts in the Caribbean. His other accolades include the Nepal Mountaineering Association's Kumar Khahga Bickram Adventurous Award and the FAI award for Outstanding Airmanship.

Jason lives in Queenstown, New Zealand, with his fiance Robyn and their one-year-old daughter Tara.

Name: Ryan Skorecki

Job title: Pilot

Age: 42

Nationality: American

This is Ryan's first season working on Everest and in doing so he's fulfilling a lifelong dream. He is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, he spent eight years in Colorado, before moving to Alaska where he has lived for the past 16 years. Prior to his Everest job he flew for the US scientific mission in Antarctica and would then work in Alaska for the heli-ski season followed by the firefighting season. Now he works on rotation - Antarctica followed by Nepal.

He started flying helicopters in 2004 and has racked up more than 6000 flying hours.

Name: Surendra Paudel

Job title: High altitude pilot

Age: 35

Nationality: Nepalese

Surendra was a pilot for the Nepalese Army for more than eight years and he joined the Simrik Air in 2011. He is Siddartha's second in command, qualified in long line human cargo sling missions, and has saved the lives of many local people and tourists throughout the Himalayas.

Name: Captain Siddartha Gurung

Chief pilot Siddartha has 18 years' experience of flying in the mountainous terrain of Nepal and knows the Himalayas like no other. He is known as one of Nepal's most experienced pilots. He was previously in the Nepalese army and got his first helicopter licence at the age of 18. He is married with three children.

In 2012 Siddartha's best friend and accomplished pilot, Sabin Basnet, was tragically killed in a rescue attempt on the Himalayan peak Ama Dablam. Both Sabin and his engineer Puma's deaths could have been avoided and Siddartha has worked tirelessly to improve the training and conditions of pilots and their rescue specialists since.

Name: Lorenz Nufer

Job title: Pilot

Age: 42

Nationality: Swiss

This is Lorenz's first season in Nepal. He has been a pilot for 16 years and has undertaken more than 2,000 flying hours. From a young age, he always wanted to be a pilot. He is married with two young children and his family stayed in Switzerland while he worked in Nepal for the climbing season. Lorenz works as a pilot and flight instructor in Switzerland and is an examiner for the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation. He is passionate about his job, and flying in the Himalayas was something he has wanted to do for many years. He also has a background in psychology and works as a business consultant and coach in organizational development and leadership.

Name: Ananda 'Andy' Thapa

Job title: High altitude pilot

Age: 30

Nationality: Nepalese

Andy joined the army when he was 18 and served as a major, flying helicopters for eight years. He grew up in a remote farming community and dreamed of flying helicopters, working hard at school to get a place as an army cadet. He has been a commercial pilot with Simrik Air since 2012 and recently qualified as a long line pilot for cargo operations.

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