Five U.S. Kayakers Rescued in TajikistanBy: Mike Fossum - October 3, 2013
Five American kayakers who went missing several days ago in Tajikistan have been rescued. A helicopter search team located the men, and they are being transported to Dushanbe, the nation’s capital. One of the rescued has a broken leg, and the other four are in good condition.
The kayaking group, consisting of Ben Luck, Cooper Lambla, Matt Klema, Nate Klema and Charles King, had activated an emergency beacon on September 30, indicating that something was wrong, while paddling down the Balankiik River in eastern Tajikistan. The group had been on an extended trip through Eurasia.
The Republic of Tajikistan is a very mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia. It borders Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east.
The GPS coordinates sent by the beacon put the men inside Pamir National Park, a remote area with some of Asia’s highest peaks. The rescue helicopter sent out on October 1 found a disabled kayak and a backpack. Shortly after this discovery, another signal was sent from 6 miles away. Though, nightfall interrupted the search, at this point.
The series of coordinates transmitted showed that the men were retracing their initial path, and friends and family stated that the slow pace must have meant that someone was injured, as all the men are experienced backcountry woodsmen, having already spent the previous two months in Siberia and Kyrgyzstan.
The men had planned to enter Nepal after their Tajikistan trek, and then possibly visit India and China. Matt and Nathan Klema, and Ben Luck are all students at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. According to the Klemer brothers’ sister Julia, the men are all seasoned kayakers and travelers, and are river guides in the Grand Canyon. The group had taken a year off to explore.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.