kathmandu firetruck expedition

by Colton Dillion | Apr 12 2016

The Kathmandu Valley is one of the world’s great natural beauties, a secluded locale lying beneath the enormous shadow of Mount Everest, and home to countless world heritage sites. Despite its wealth of natural and historical treasures, the Kathmandu Fire Department has an insufficient number of worn-out & run-down rescue vehicles, all more than half a century old. In order to support the humble civilization nestled in the heart of the valley, a group of explorers passionate about the region have raised funds from around the world to bring two brand new, and much needed, fire engines to Kathmandu.

From the Soarway Foundation:

As a child, many of us thrilled to the sight of a shiny red fire truck racing along, sirens wailing, as it rushed on its next mission. Whether rescuing a family trapped in a burning building or extricating a kitten that had climbed too high in a tree our image was of the fireman as a hero. A savior.The world changed and our firefighters and other first responders saw their mission change too and their heroism reached new heights as did their sacrifices with events like 9/11.

In Nepal, the picture is sadly different. Although firefighting equipment and ambulances and capable men and women to operate them are critical to the disaster preparedness effort, there are shiny firetrucks racing to the rescue. Instead, the almost five million people who live in the Kathmandu Valley had been served for years by a handful of antiquated, often barely-functional fire trucks, that were fifty years old. And ambulances were merely vehicles without skilled emergency medical technicians to help save the lives of critically ill patients en-route to the hospital. The problem was compounded when the fire station in Kathmandu was severely damaged, along with the already battered fire trucks, during the earthquake.

The explorers will form two expeditionary teams and attempt to drive these two made-in-USA firetrucks five hundred miles from India to Kathmandu, a journey through mountains, jungles, swamps, and steppes; through mud, ice and snow in an effort to explore the region’s beauty while competing against each other to see who arrives first.

The expedition team originally consisted of the late actor James Gandolfini, explorer Sir Randolph Fiennes, and their friend, watchmaker Michael Kobold. After Mr. Gandolfini’s passing, a new team was assembled, consisted of Randolph Fiennes, Michael Kobold, actor Malcolm McDowell, U.S. Ambassador Scott H. DeLisi, Former Miss Nepal Shristi Shrestha, Canadian High-Altitude Mountaineer Heather Geluck, 3 members of the U.S. Navy SEALs, and Martin Hartley, the renowned polar expedition photographer from England.