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By Muhammad Atif Noor
     
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Namira’s quest to conquer continues as she skydive Everest By Muhammad Aftab Zahoor PDF Print E-mail

ISLAMABAD, Oct 19 (APP): Namira Salim, a Pakistani National became the first Asian to Skydive Mount Everest as part of the “First Everest Skydive 2008” - the vision of Nigel Gifford of High and Wild, a mountaineer and skydiver. Not only, the divers did a select few dive from an altitude above Mount Everest (29,500 feet), but they also made history as the first jumpers ever to skydive from the roof of the world. 

Namira skydived tandem on October 11, 2008 after much waiting due to challenging weather conditions at 12,350 feet in Shyangboche, the highest drop zone at the world and normally the average altitude at which most skydives begin. This was her first skydive.

“We almost always had a small weather window from around 0600 hours to 1000 hours due to the late monsoon in Nepal. This caused unexpected delays in our jump programme” Namira told APP on phone after successful expedition.

Taking off in the Swiss Turbine P3 Pilatus Porter, Namira jumped in extreme cold at 29,480 feet looking onto the summit of Everest.

“To my surprise, during the free fall, I felt suspended in thin air due to lack of relative motion as she was captured on video for family and friends by camera flyer Wendy Smith,” she said.

“After approximately one minute of free fall at the speed of 158 mph, her parachute, three times the normal size, was deployed at 18,000 feet,” Namira told.

Being a high altitude jump, where one experiences 40% less oxygen, Namira was equipped with an oxygen system, protective goggles, gloves, helmet and a thermal jumpsuit which read “Peace Making with Nation Souls” the theme of her universal peace flag. 

The landing was smooth as she softly touched down at the Shyangboche drop zone contending with winds of around 150-200 mph that could have blown her off course.

With the best of jump equipment, pilots, skydivers, tandem masters and camera flyers gathered for this amazing adventure, one was sure of safe operations.

The Everest Parachuting Operations and Drop Zone Control fell under the expertise of Dave Wood, a qualified US Military High Altitude Tandem Master and Instructor of Military Freefall Oxygen Systems.

The Dual Hawk Tandem System, equipped with Set-400 Main Parachute, Master 425 Reserve Parachute an Airtec Cyres was provided by Tom Noonan, Director Strong Enterprises. 

Revealing the experience, Namira said, after arrival in Kathmandu the skydivers were flown to Lukla in Twin Otters, where the jump programme preceded 10 days of challenging trekking in the Sagarmatha National Park for acclimatization and high altitude training.

Everyday was an early start followed by trekking for 6-8 hours up and down steep and gentle trails along scenic mountains and the milky white ‘Dhud Khosi Valley’ making way through small villages that housed lodges and tea houses.

“While our porters and yaks would be far ahead leading us to our next destination, our Sherpa support team would cook for us and our wonderful guide ‘Billi’ would keep our group together” recalled Namira.

“I was greatly touched by the life of the sherpas who seem nothing of carrying un-imaginable loads through zigzag paths amid the delicate mountain environment” she added. 

The trek, which started at 9,100 feet in Lukla went as high as 13,500 feet.

“I would like to thank Mohan K. Shrestha, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Nepal for all his support during my challenging expedition,” she said.

“I also convey my heartfelt gratitude to my parents and loved ones for their unconditional support. I am proud to have touched Everest, the third pole of the world in my own unique way,” she added. 

Namira Salim was the first Pakistani at the North Pole in 2007 and at the South Pole in 2008. She is also set to become the first Pakistani in space aboard Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Braving the extreme harsh weather, windchill and severe solar radiation, Namira Salim, reached the South Pole in January 2008, to win more laurels for Pakistan.

After becoming the first Pakistani to have reached the North Pole in April 2007, Namira ventured to become the first Pakistani at the South Pole also and hoisted national flag on the snow land.

National flag she hoisted, was awarded to her by the then Caretaker Prime Minister Muhammadmian Soomro on December 24, 2007, during her fly by visit to Pakistan prior to private expedition to 90 degrees South.

“I am very happy. I cannot express my joy. I am again the first to skydive after my earlier expeditions to North Pole and South Pole,” she remarked.

“Pay my congratulations to Pakistani nation for winning accolades for the country and the nation,” were her last remarks on phone.

North or South, Namira carries the National Flag and the message of love and peace as a Pakistani as she continues winning honour for the Nation.

 
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