The saddest news: Death of Staff Nurse Nisha Tamang in fatal Helicopter Crash
10th August 2016
Dear friends and supporters,
Many of you will already have seen reports about our loss in the national news. It is with a very heavy heart that we are sending this announcement, instead of the regular newsletter:
The entire PHASE Nepal team is heartbroken and grieving for our lovely friend and colleague, Nisha Tamang, who was tragically killed on the 8th August 2016 in a helicopter crash in Madhanpur-9, Pakhure, Nuwakot district, Nepal.
Nisha was accompanying a young mother with a serious postpartum infection and her 5 day old baby, who had a fever, with three members of their family, from her work station in Filim Health Post Sirdibas VDC (Gorkha district) to hospital in Kathmandu.
The helicopter pilot, Ranjan Limbu, who had worked with our team in many flight missions during the earthquake relief, also perished in the accident, together with the young mother, Preeti Gurung, her 5 day old son, her parents in law Kitman and Asarni, and another young relative, Laxmi Gurung.
Nisha was a loved, respected and skilled member of the PHASE Nepal team. After working as instructor in a paramedical college she had joined PHASE in February 2016 and had been based in remote North Gorkha, supporting health projects in Chumchet, Chhekampar and Sirdibas. She was committed to improving health in rural communities, demonstrated by her desire to serve patients in remote areas. She and her colleague, Srijana, had spent several days and nights caring for Preeti and her sick baby and the decision to refer to Kathmandu was not taken lightly. There was a very real risk that Preeti could have died from her infection, as treatment at the health post was not working.
That both mother and baby and those trying to save their lives all died on the way to safety is a devastating tragedy which throws a stark light on the realities of living and working in such remote areas of Nepal: There is no feasible alternative to helicopter transport in such a situation during the monsoon: Footpaths are simply not passable, and the next road would be 3 days away even if they were…
The PHASE Nepal team are working to support Nisha’s family and her colleagues at this difficult time. Our thoughts and our hearts are with them and with the families of the other victims at this tragic time and we join them in their grief.
We are discussing a number of ideas how best to commemorate Nisha’s ultimate sacrifice, and will update you on these in the next newsletter (due within 2 weeks.)
Thank you for your ongoing friendship and support.