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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 18:52 GMT 19:52 UK
Stranded climber texts for help
Text messaging
Mountaineering groups warn climbers against relying on phones
A British climber stranded in a blizzard in the Swiss Alps has been rescued by helicopter after raising the alarm by texting a friend in London.

Rachel Kelsey, 32, and a male companion spent two nights on a mountain at just under 10,000 feet after a blizzard set in on Piz Badile on Saturday.

Ms Kelsey alerted rescue teams by sending a SOS text message early on Saturday to her friend, Avery Cunliffe in Battersea, south London.

He then called police in Geneva, who contacted the mountain rescue team based at Zurich airport.

The climbers are said to be suffering from the effects of the cold, but are not injured.

People must always arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible to survive or cope if there is an accident
Stuart Ingram, British Mountaineering Council
The message sent to Mr Cunliffe, 32, a freelance photographer, read: "Need helicopter rescue off North Ridge of Piz Badile, Switzerland."

Mr Cunliffe told BBC News Online Miss Kelsey was a very experienced mountaineer and climbing instructor and a "tough cookie".

"She will make very light of this," he said.

Mountaineering groups have warned climbers against relying on mobile phones as a "catch-all escape".

Stuart Ingram, from The British Mountaineering Council, said: "People must always arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible to survive or cope if there is an accident.

"They must not rely on mobile phones."

He warned that they can run out of batteries, lose reception or get too wet or cold to work.

Mr Ingram recommended that mountaineers carry a first aid kit and have the navigational skills to cope with an emergency.

The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Rachel says... she is determined to go climbing again as soon as possible"

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