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Monday, February 1, 1999 Published at 13:18 GMT


Rescued climber may need amputation

The climbers were trapped in sub-zero temperatures

A climber who survived for five days trapped in the French Alps may lose parts of his fingers, toes and ears.

The BBC's Linda Duffin: "The two men were trapped by a blizzard"
Jemmison "Jamie" Andrew, 30, is in hospital in Chamonix, France, suffering from frostbite after being rescued. His Edinburgh climbing companion Jamie Fisher, 28, died.

Climbing expert Hamish MacInnes said: "It will be very critical in the next few days or even weeks whether he will lose and fingers or toes.

"He is in quite good hands in Chamonix, they have wide experience for the treatment of frostbite. But if it is bad you are talking about amputation of extremities."

'Good spirits'

A doctor treating Mr Andrew said he was "improving", but added: "He has got frostbite in his hands and feet, but we have to wait at least seven to 10 days to see if amputation will be necessary.

"His general condition is improving and he is in good spirits, although he is upset by the death of his friend.

"He will stay in hospital here for at least a week and maybe longer."

Mr Andrew and the body of Mr Fisher were pulled off a ridge on the 13,000ft Les Droites in the Mont Blanc range by helicopter on Sunday.

Pam Fisher, Mr Fisher's mother, paid tribute to her son on Monday.

'Accepted risks'

"We are completely devastated but we are very clear he was doing what he loved doing and it was something which lit up his life," she said.

"We talked a lot in the family of the risks and dangers and he was prepared to accept those risks."

Mrs Fisher, who lives in Oxford, said the Chamonix mountain rescue team was "brilliant", adding: "They did absolutely all they could and we are hugely relieved that Jamie Andrew survived."

Jamie attempted to climb Savoie Kangry, near K2 in the Himalayas, with a party of friends from Edinburgh last summer.

They nearly made the summit but were forced back about 500 metres from the top.

The Barnardo's worker first became seriously interested in climbing while at Edinburgh University where he was president of the mountaineering club.

Bad weather blamed

Mrs Fisher said her estranged husband Stewart was in Chamonix and had raised the alarm on Wednesday. He is expected to bring the body home on Tuesday.

The mountains also claimed the life of a British snowboarder when Robert Coates, 26, died in hospital from injuries he received in an avalanche.

Appalling weather conditions were blamed for both incidents as authorities issued an alert advising against hiking and skiing off-piste.

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