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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Former mountaineer finds dream job at Cairns Hospital

A FORMER mountain rescuer who worked on the world’s most dangerous mountain range has found his dream job at the Cairns Hospital as an operational services officer.

From age 17, Uttam Chhetri’s day job for 10 years was mountain rescuer on the world’s tallest mountain Mt Everest in the Himalayas and in that time, he saved more than 40 lives and carried more than 80 bodies from the mountain.

The Nepalese man, who now calls Cairns home, faced arguably the most gruelling conditions on Earth.

He worked in temperatures as low as -40C while living in a tent for the four-month seasons, as up to 600 climbers scaled the mountain in a job that he described as having “lots of sacrifice and very hard work”.

“There is a lot of risk because you have to give your life to save someone and you have to hang out of a helicopter (long range rescue) to take the body and some people are very seriously injured,” he said.

“You bring them to the camp, then charter a helicopter and send back to the city for better treatment.”

His younger sister, who lives in Sydney, was the motivation for Uttam’s move to Australia and after finding his place in Cairns he found his dream job seven months ago at Cairns Hospital.

“I just love my work and work very hard all the time,” he said.

“I was very excited, this is my new life now.”

Uttam Chhetri can clock up to 30,000 steps a day in his role transferring patients, performing cleaning duties and waste runs at Cairns Hospital.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Harleys celebrates 30 years and three generations and Hospital pharmacist recognised for work.

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