Argentina's Mendoza to charge mountain climbers on helicopter rescue

BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina's Mendoza province, home to the highest peak outside Asia, issued Wednesday a message to require mountain climbers to pay for helicopter rides in rescue.

"No one is going to be allowed to die up there because they can't pay," Mabel Chambouleyron, of the province's Environment Secretariat, told state news service Telam, but "the idea is to prevent the (local) community from having to bear the cost of a private activity."

The local government said climbers in need of a rescue mission will have to foot the bill that amounts to some 40,000 pesos, or just over 2,600 U.S. dollars, per hour.

The new rule takes effect in the upcoming climbing season, which runs from Nov. 15 to March 15, with mountain climbers leaving a credit card voucher in case of an emergency.

Each year, some 3,000 climbers scale the 6,961-meter-high Aconcagua, the world's second-highest mountain after Chomolungma (Mount Everest) of 8,848 meters above sea level, and local rescuers carry out about 100 operations annually, according to Telam.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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