British Gurkhas were called in to help retrieve more than 100 British travellers who were stranded in remote parts of Nepal
With great military precision, the British Gurkhas Nepal helped retrieve 109 British nationals and a further 28 foreign nationals.
The stranded individuals were stuck in isolated parts of Nepal when the coronavirus crisis broke out — with seriously reduced transport routes.
Their remote locations, and the strict lockdown measures, meant the travellers were unable to reach the three charter flights sent to repatriate British nationals back to the UK last month.
Mobilising the British Gurkhas Nepal network — based in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Dharan — and using their local knowledge, UK Embassy staff and soldiers mapped out where the stranded British travellers were. They then devised a plan to reach them.
Over three weeks, the soldiers, embassy staff and locally employed drivers travelled more than 4,000 miles through the Himalayas to 13 different districts.
They negotiated river crossings and landslides, to reach the tourists scattered across dozens of mountainous towns, villages and national parks.
In some instances, the soldiers and drivers were forced to set up camp for the night on the side of the road because of the long and hazardous journeys.
Sergeant Prakash Gurung, of Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), rescued a British national from Manang, who was located in north-west Nepal. He then drove the solo traveller nine-and-a-half hours back to Kathmandu to catch a UK charter flight.
Prakash, who by day is a postal operator, volunteered to complete the nine-and-half hour drive to Manang, which nearly had to be aborted part-way through due to a landslide, traversing single-track, treacherous roads to reach the stranded traveller.
Getting British nationals home during these times is a huge challenge around the world.
In a country like Nepal, with such extreme conditions, it would have been impossible to get everyone back without the close collaboration of the Embassy and British Gurkhas Nepal.
We have been able to reunite British travellers with their families in the UK, and that would not have been possible without the tireless work of our Embassy and Gurkha team.
As well as bringing home British travellers on the charter flights last month, around 70 soldiers and their dependants from the Brigade of Gurkhas and wider British Army — who were in Nepal on leave and holiday — returned to the UK to join the fight against coronavirus.