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Doctor accused of faking hypothermia to be airlifted off highest mountain in US

Doctor accused of faking hypothermia to be airlifted off highest mountain in US
Jason Lance has claimed allegations are ‘baseless’

UMA médico is facing cobranças after he called emergency rescue services and allegedly faked hypothermia in a bid to get himself rescued from Denali, instead of descending the montanha on his own.

Denali, formerly known as Mt McKinley, é North America’s highest mountain with its summit at 20,320ft.

Dr Jason Lance, 47, a radiologist from Ogden city in Utah, is facing three charges for the 24 May incident, according to the criminal complaint filed in Fairbanks, Alaska Federal Court.

The complaint said that on 24 Maio, Dr Lance and his 31-year-old traveling partner Adam Rawski, set out from Denali’s Camp 3, at 14,000ft, to reach the summit.

They were somewhere between 18,600ft and 19,200ft, when Dr Lance noticed that his partner was exhibiting symptoms of altitude sickness.

At 17,200ft, temperatures drop below -30F (-34.44°C) and climbers experience strong winds, according to the American Alpine Institute.

The complaint stated that Dr Lance realised his partner was too ill to continue and decided to leave him with another pair of climbers. He then proceeded towards the summit with Mr Rawski’s satellite text-messaging device.

But soon after, the other pair and Dr Lance gave up on their climb and decided to help Mr Rawski descend. Neither of the four climbers were using a rope. Around 6pm, Mr Rawski fell from the mountain “tumbling approximately 1,000ft,” the complaint said, relatado The Daily Beast.

All three then alerted emergency rescue services and Mr Rawski was soon airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Depois disto, Dr Lance texted emergency services that he was stuck without equipment after Mr Rawski’s fall and also needed to be evacuated.

He was told to email Denali Park services directly. Around an hour later, Denali Park Services asked him to use a safety rope to descend the mountain. But Dr Lance kept insisting that he had no rope and needed evacuation.

“The helicopter cannot come to your location and is not flying anymore tonight. Do you have a rope with you? Your only option tonight is descent,” said the message by the Park rangers.

Dr Lance then alleged hypothermia in an attempt to get rescued. “Cant decend [sic] safely. Patients in shock. Early hypothermiaCan’t you land east of pass?” he messaged back, de acordo com a reclamação.

Denali Park rescuers then launched a helicopter to rescue the three climbers, but it turned around at 17,200ft, when guides informed them that the three climbers were descending by themselves.

Dr Lance was not informed that a helicopter had been launched.

The next morning, when park services officers reached his tent to gather Mr Rawski’s belongings, Dr Lance appeared evasive and did not immediately handover the satellite device, the complaint stated. Though he was asked not to delete any messages or manipulate the device in any way, Dr Lance used his backpack to cover himself as he worked on the device.

Authorities later found that Dr Lance had deleted the initial messages where he said that they needed to be rescued due to lack of equipment and not hypothermia.

The other two climbers who descended with him also informed rangers that they had tried to convince Dr Lance to use the safety rope and start descending, but Dr Lance insisted on waiting to be rescued by emergency services.

Dr Lance has called the allegations “baseless” in a statement to The Daily Beast. He is scheduled to appear in court on 29 November in a detention hearing.