A video spread/broadcasted on the net showing the desperate rescue of an italo-argentinian guide close to the top of the Aconcagua, at 6.500 m altitude, causes a polemic in Argentina, the father of the victim, who has brought an action against the rescuers accusing them of having abandoned his son.
“He does not move: I requested the authorisation from the judge (to abandon him there)”, says one of the rescuers in front of the camera, whereas one sees the guide, Federico Campanini, 31 years old, in the background trying to stand up in the snow.
One doesn’t know which judge the rescuer is referring to, who says “jueza”: a female judge.
“It’s done!”, says the cameraman. “Stand up, idiot”, shouts another rescuer. “Common, shit!”, one can hear. Then:
“React, idiot!”. “May God enlighten him and give him strength, please…”, murmurs the cameraman.
The guide crawls painfully. The rescuers pull in vain.
Carlos Campanini, the father of the guide, who has received a copy of film anonymously and has spread it on Internet, declared to the press that the rescuers “had let his son die”.
“They went to search for a corpse and they found a survivor”, he said.
The rescuers, who had passed a rope around the belt of the guide, had not thought of some extra-light oxygen equipment for him, neither of a thermal sleeping bag, nor of a stretcher to transport him.
They were forced to go up towards the top before going down again taking a better way which lead to a debate among the specialists about the possibility, under these extreme conditions, of using a stretcher.
The video carries on again after a cut/pause. “We have done ten metres, we are exhausted”, said the cameraman. It’s about a tent, then the voice-over explains: “We also fight for our own lives”.
A rescuer talks on the radio: “Tell them that he is dying, he can’t anymore, in 40 minutes he is dying”.
“Common, Federico, idiot”, says one of the rescuers, while one hears the cameraman crying. Then one sees the guide already far away from the rescuers, without being able to know whether he was abandoned alive.
Federico Campanini was the guide of an Italian group of mountaineers. He died victim of a pulmonary oedema, hypothermia and dehydration, during the night from 8th to 9th January. Previously, an Italian, Elena Senin, 38 years old, had died.
The group of five people that had started to climb the Aconcagua on 1st January had reached the top on the 6th before getting caught on Tuesday in a very violent storm.