A British ex-army man is being hailed a hero for abandoning his climb to Mount Everest in order to save a woman who would have died without his intervention.
British ex-serviceman Leslie John Binns was within just 500 meters from the summit of world’s tallest mountain. However, despite being within kissing distance of the peak, Binns abandoned his trek and turned back to save a fellow mountaineer. Incidentally, the 32-year-old woman climber he saved was an Indian mother, reported the Express. In fact, the woman had completed her ascend and was on her way down when she encountered life-threatening conditions on the already treacherous climb.
Had the British ex-army man completed his trek up the peak in the last week of May, he would have easily added his name among just 5,000 mountaineers who have successfully scaled Mount Everest ever since Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay first conquered the domineering mountain in 1953. But despite being very near to the peak, with a beautiful sunny day to assist the climb, Binns’ conscience convinced the experienced climber to retreat for the sake of a human life that would have been easily extinguished in the unforgiving conditions.
Binns abandoned his climb to Mount Everest just to save the life of Sunita Hazra, reported the Telegraph. The Indian woman, a mother, was scaling the peak ahead of him. The war veteran, who served in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, trained his ears to search for a woman’s screams in the frigid climate.
Immediately abandoning the thought of continuing his climb, Binns turned and trudged through the snow towards the sound and located Hazra. A quick investigation revealed the woman had no oxygen left in her tank. Realizing the woman would easily suffocate in the thin mountain air, Binns assisted Hazra in getting to her feet, and together they slowly climbed down.
The duo trudged to the nearest camp, where Hazra was administered oxygen and first aid. Reports indicate the woman had suffered from frostbite and was very near asphyxiation. While there’s still no official confirmation if Hazra scaled the peak, she was to be the first Bengali mother to climb the summit of Mount Everest.
Binns was in the Army for 13 years. A tough war veteran, he has won two medals, including Queen’s Commendation for Bravery. He has been honored for finding hidden Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in Afghanistan in 2009. Unfortunately, one of the IED exploded near Binns, permanently blinding him in his left eye.
However, the determined human being didn’t let the injury hamper his active outdoor lifestyle. Binns set out from U.K. on April 4 to conquer Mount Everest. With everything proceeding as per schedule, Binns managed to scale the mountain and was expected to reach the peak on May 22. But in the final hours of his endeavor, he came across Hazra, who was low on oxygen and had slipped while on her way down, reported the Hindustan Times.
Binns admitted he had mixed feelings about turning back to save a woman, but added he was glad of his decision.
“Of course I felt sad because I could not climb the summit. But I am happy that I have saved a life. I have received messages from many people. It really feels good.”
Hazra was not only thankful for saving her life, she was also grateful towards Binns for abandoning his expedition so that she could be reunited with her family.
“I owe my life to him. I could return home to see my child. What else can I say?”
The British ex-serviceman’s act of courage and kindness has been applauded on social media portals, with many insisting that the peak isn’t always the summit. Many others have hoped that Binns is still healthy and should take another crack at climbing Mount Everest soon.
[Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images]