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Briton who gave up Everest ascent to save Indian will attempt climb next year

A British ex-serviceman, who saved an Indian woman’s life near Mount Everest by abandoning his own climb in May, will attempt to scale the world’s highest summit next year.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2016 16:51 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Leslie Binns
British ex-serviceman had abandoned his expedition 450 metres before the summit to save West Bengal’s Sunita Hazra on May 21. (Facebook)

A British ex-serviceman, who saved an Indian woman’s life near Mount Everest by abandoning his own climb in May, will attempt to scale the world’s highest summit next year.

Leslie Binns, who served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, was barely 500 metres away from the summit when he spotted Sunita Hazra – a mountaineer from West Bengal – in distress on May 21.

Binns helped Hazra, who was low was oxygen, by giving her oxygen from his stock and carrying her to his tent. The mother of one was the only one from her four-member team to return alive. Three others – Subhas Pal, Gautam Ghosh and Paresh Nath – died of exhaustion and high altitude sickness.

Read | Metres away from Mt Everest summit, Briton turns around to save Bengali woman

Hazra and her family later described Binns, who lost an eye in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan, as their ‘God’.

“I will attempt the summit next year,” Binns, who is now busy spending time with his family, told Hindustan Times on Thursday.

“There is a person in India helping to raise money for my next attempt. Besides, I’m doing it for charities and hoping to get a major sponsor,” Binns said.

Read | Plans afoot to fund Everest quest of Briton who saved Indian climber

(Files) West Bengal climber Sunita Hazra recovering at Norvik Hospital in Kathmandu. (Utpal Parashar/ HT Photo)

Virgin Money Giving, a not-for-profit company which is a part Richard Branson’s venture capital conglomerate Virgin Group Ltd, is helping him raise funds.

“Les abandoned his summit attempt in order to save another life. This was a huge personal sacrifice. Les is, however, not a man who gives up easily and he is determined to return to the Himalayas and defeat that mountain. For the second attempt in 2017 we need your help,” Virgin Money Giving said on Binn’s profile page.

The British mountaineer will be raising funds for three institutions – Mountain Rescue of England and Wales, The Army Benevolent Fund and his rugby club, the Yorkshire-based Dearne Valley Bulldogs, for which he once played and now acts as a coach.

“A small token for a cracking lad, good luck on your re-test,” Christopher Homewood, who donated £100 on June 13, wrote on uk.virginmoneygiving.com.

Read | On Everest expedition, three climbers from Bengal go missing

As the news of his selfless act spread, mountaineers from around the world have come out in his praise and even offered to raise money so that he could have another chance to scale the world’s highest peak.

Members of India’s mountaineering community said that a Pune-based climber, Abilash Sahare, is raising funds for Binns’ summit dreams in a bid to pay a tribute to his humanitarian role. HT could not contact Sahare.

An Indian mountaineer requires anything between Rs 17-20 lakh to climb the peak. The cost is higher for Europeans.