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Nepal cracks down on lucrative helicopter rescue scams
Climbers forced to abandon ascents at first sign of illness to be flown to private hospitals

  Nepal has ordered a review of the way summit helicopter rescues are conducted after uncovering a multimillion-dollar scam in which climbers were pressured, sometimes by having their food spiked, to take costly flights down mountains.

Insurance industry figures said the scam, which had been operating for more than five years, had caused at least one unnecessary death and involved dozens of helicopter companies, tour operators, hotels and hospitals.

Thousands of climbers had been forced to abandon their ascents at the first sign of illness and take expensive helicopter rides to private hospitals, according to an investigation by the Nepalese government.

Their bills were allegedly charged to insurance companies, with kickbacks given to the trekking guides, hotels and sometimes the climbers themselves.



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