Tags: kayakers | tajikistan | found

Kayakers: Tajikistan Adventurers Found; Sick American Airlifted Out

By    |   Friday, 04 October 2013 11:17 AM

A group of five kayakers was found safe Thursday in Tajikistan after one, an American, came down with a life-threatening illness.

Americans Ben Luck and Matthew and Nathan Klema, along with two other friends, called for help Monday after Luck, 24, developed hypothermia and high-altitude sickness during a trip to the Muksu River in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan. To get to the river, the kayakers reportedly had to cross Takhtakorum Pass, which is an estimated 17,000 feet in elevation.

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The friends were dropped off in Badakhshan National Park Sunday for what was scheduled to be a five-day adventure, according to NBC News, but were forced to signal for help after Luck became ill.

"He had high-altitude sickness, which entailed the onset of fluid in his lungs, and that’s a pretty serious thing. People can die from that," the Klema brothers' dad Thomas told NBC News.

A helicopter was unable to locate the kayakers until Thursday, and Luck was then rescued and airlifted to Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital.

"We are pleased to report that the U.S. citizen kayakers in Tajikistan have been located," the U.S. State Department in Washington said in a statement. "One U.S. citizen requested consular assistance, which the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe provided. We cannot provide further details regarding the group due to privacy considerations."

Luck is expected to make a full recovery, and the remaining kayakers are reportedly continuing on with their trip.

"He’s been on supplemental oxygen and his father has joked that he is eating prime rib and drinking Russian Vodka," Thomas Klema said.

Luck and the Klema brothers are all experienced kayakers, and were even ranked "Adventurers of the Year" in 2011 by Outside magazine. They have run rapids all over the world — in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, New Zealand, and India.

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A group of five kayakers was found safe Thursday in Tajikistan after one, an American, came down with a life-threatening illness.
Friday, 04 October 2013 11:17 AM
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