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Friday, February 5, 1999 Published at 11:53 GMT


I owe life to friend, says climber

Temperatures dropped as low as -60C

A climber who survived five days trapped in the French Alps says he owes his life to the friend who froze to death next to him.

Jamie Andrew, 30, was saved by a helicopter rescue team on Sunday with severe frostbite in all his limbs. His companion, Jamie Fisher, had died.

Mr Andrew told Friday's Daily Record newspaper: "The one thing that kept us going was our friendship.

"We buoyed each other up. On several occasions we had to keep each other going to survive. Sadly, only I made it.

"The loss of my friend is far sadder to me than any injury that I have sustained myself. I am not a hero. If anything, I am slightly tough. I wanted to get out alive. There is nothing heroic about that."

The pair shared a flat in Edinburgh and were regarded as two of Scotland's best climbers.

Rescue services 'magnificent'

Mr Andrew, 29, said he did not expect to survive in temperatures that dropped as low as -60C.

"The rescue services were incredible. They were totally magnificent and it is a miracle that they managed to get me off at all," said.

"They managed an incredible job considering the horrendous conditions."

The pair were trapped 13,000ft up after being caught in a sudden storm as they tried to descend from Les Droites near Chamonix.

Mr Andrew said: "The conditions were unexpectedly bad. I have never experienced anything as bad for so long. It just didn't stop."

Doctors are now hoping to save Mr Andrew's blackened hands and feet.

"It is a very long process," Mr Andrew said. "I am not trying to deceive myself about the extent of my injuries.

"I know they are bad and I know there are still major hurdles to overcome.

"I've got very severe frostbite in all four of my limbs and I am still fairly numb. I am not in much pain but I can tell it is going to be a very long process."

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05 Feb 99 | UK
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