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Georgian lifeguard who saved life of nearly 700 people
13 August, 2018
Gocha Bilvanidze, the Head of the Maritime Rescue Service has been with the organization for eight years now. He has saved the lives of around 700 people during that time. There are a number of reasons for maritime accidents for example negligence by parents towards their children, people entering the water whilst drunk or extremists risking their own lives during storms. Recently, he and his team have had to rescue two Iranian citizens. They wanted to experience the sea during a
storm as an extreme sport. They entered the water but could not make it back to the beach.

As part of their day to day work the Rescue Service provides continuous information about current weather conditions, raise red flags on beaches as a warning and white flags to signify it is safe to swim in the sea or river. However despite warnings and up-to-date information about weather conditions, holiday-makers still risk their lives by being either reckless or negligent.
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Georgian rescuer on the Black Sea coast, Photo courtesy: www.batumelebi.netgazeti.ge

Misha Khutsishvili, first lieutenant of the Mountain Rescue Service, has been rescuing people on Georgian mountains for 5 years. He is an experienced mountaineer, having climbed a 4250 metre high mountain in Kazbegi, Georgia. As the terrain and the level of snow change seasonally, even experienced mountaineers have to be cautious. Mountaineering is a very interesting sport but sometimes people forget the fact that it also involves risking their lives.

Georgian mountains are visited by a lot of locals as well as tourists. Some of them have the proper clothing and equipment. They have the relevant information about the weather and any climbing conditions and also know the rules about climbing. Whilst others are completely unprepared and see a climb up the mountain as a great day out and a bit of an adventure. Unfortunately these can end in terrible accidents. Misha Khutsishvili together with his crew attempt to provide guidance to climbers but sometimes the latter embark on the adventure without guidance and even worse, unattended by any experienced mountaineers.
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Mkinvartsveri, Photo courtesy: www.yamarauli.blogspot.com

This spring, three Polish climbers were making their way back from Mount Kazbegi when they got lost. They did not have GPS or ropes with them. One of them fell into a cavity and a helicopter was needed to lift them to safety. Luckily, the crew managed to save them.

Unfortunately, despite warnings about going up the mountain without an experienced mountaineer with them and proper equipment at certain venues, climbers still put their lives at risk. The crew have got used to saving negligent climbers but they still find it distressing when even their assistance is too late to save them .

First photo courtesy: www.batumelebi.netgazeti.ge

Related stories:

Georgia’s only female mountain rescuer from Svaneti

Modern day heroes do exist – unbelievable story of a daring rescue in the Mtkvari River

Rescue operation in Stepantsminda - Indian tourist fell while paragliding

Kazbegi - Create your own adventure



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