Government to crack down the Heli Rescue Scam

Helicopter rescue in Nepal
Updated on May 03, 2024

The Nepal Government's probe committee was formed to investigate the Helicopter Rescue Scam and submitted its report to the Tourism minister on 30 July 2018. This fact-finding committee has recommended that the Nepal Police be given the responsibility of conducting such tourist rescue operations since September 2018, defying to stop any such insurance scams in the future that have damaged the country's reputation. It has also suggested investigating the cases of organized crimes and fraud charges against the culprit companies and groups involved with fake rescue operations.

There are widespread complaints that some of the Trekking Agencies, Helicopter Companies, and Hospitals have been making claims against their customers' travelers' insurance policies for fake helicopter rescues. In addition, they have been accused of presenting counterfeit bills for wide-ranging medical examinations for simple altitude-related headaches.

Many helicopter rescues have taken place with companies that sell the trek on a cost package and later on push the trekkers and climbers to agree to airlifts for minor illnesses to the multiple claims for a single chopper ride. However, at some point, trekkers and climbers looking for a fast return after the adventure also increase the number of Heli Rescue Scams. Once the hospital in Kathmandu certifies the documents, saying that a rescue was medically justified, the insurance company will pay the claimed bills.

As per the committee's suggestion, the rescue operation in Nepal will be conducted by the Nepal Police in September 2018 to ensure safety and reliability and to stop such scams. Furthermore, Nepal Police should abide by Public Procurement Regulations while selecting helicopter companies and hospitals to rescue and treat tourists. As per the panel report, Nepal Police can spend immediately on rescue works from its Welfare Fund and be reimbursed through the insurance claimed.

It is widely believed that the government's action to stop the Heli Rescue Scam will boost travelers' confidence in visiting Nepal with proper insurance at its best cost. Thus, the country will be able to meet its target of welcoming 2 million travelers to visit Nepal in 2020.

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Chairman of Mountain Monarch, Adventure Trip Leader, and organiser for over two decades