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Navarra to charge for rescues caused by imprudence

CJ Williams

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonense (1995)
Camino Francés (1996; 1999; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2011)
Camino Aragonés (2000)
#1
I don't know if someone has already posted this somewhere else on the forum, and I'm planning to cross-post it in several threads because this is VERY IMPORTANT! This news appeared in the local papers here in Navarra this week. I post below a brief translation of the highlights:

Five Korean pilgrims were rescued during the last week of January in the Izandorre shelter, after being left isolated by snow while climbing to Ibañeta. Now they'll have to pay the 1,500 euros that the operation cost Navarre Emergency Agency (NSA) the operation. The five young men foolishly ignored the warnings of locals ​​at different times to not continue through the forest because of the storm of wind and snow (which reached reached depths of thicknesses greater than 70 centimeters in the Pyrenees)...

Navarra thus joins the list of regions that have put a price on the bailouts. Cataluña was the first to do so in 2009, was followed by the Basque Country in 2011, and to date Cantabria, Asturias, Castilla & León and Valencia have joined the initiative.

Spokesmen from the NSA explained that each case would be studied separately, but they said that by "imprudence" is understood "recklessly disregarding weather alerts" or "not being properly equipped in a particular context." ...

The price for a rescue evacuation by helicopter ascends to 1,400 euros. However, this is not the actual cost of aircraft utilization, since the government of Navarra explained that the true cost for sending a helicopter crew, a pilot, a doctor and a nurse, costs just over 2,000 euros. For this reason, they explain, the rates are designed to be dissuasive and not a means of collecting revenue.


For those of you who can read Spanish well, I provide the link to the original article: http://aeca-helicopteros.com/2013/0...escates-que-esten-motivados-por-imprudencias/

I think this measure is absolutely correct and completely justified. Spain is going through a severe economic crisis, and cuts are being made in all kinds of services, including healthcare. There is no justification for risking your life in the mountains on the Camino in winter and then expecting the local government to absorb the cost of rescuing you because you were imprudent. In addition, if you have to be rescued, bear in mind that you are also placing the lives of the rescue crews in danger.

So, if you are an inexperienced trekker, don't speak French or Spanish and are thinking of walking the Camino in winter, think twice and then think about it again. If you do, you are taking an unnecessary risk. And if you do, then you need to heed the weather alerts and the advice of locals. The weather is very unpredictable, and people die in the Pyrenees (and in the Bierzo Mountains and elsewhere) in winter. Be smart, be prudent and buen Camino!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#2
I so completely agree wth you! Being a former soldier and survival expert in Arctic Norway, I know more about the hazards of snow than most people on the planet. When I read about people planning to walk in Dec./Jan. at high altitudes: Pyrenees/O'Cebreiro et all (even with a dog!) with absolutely no snow experience, I just shake my head.

SAR-operations (Search And Rescue) are very costly and definitely not something that Spain as a (economically restrained) country should pay for, on behalf of ignorants.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#3
A friend had to have a helicopter evacuation after suffering a heart attack while bicycling this summer in Utah, and the bill was $21,000. Spain seems quite reasonable for a bad weather rescue.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#4
This all sounds reasonable to me, as long as the advice is available at key places and pilgrims are strongly encouraged to seek and take it.

I only saw one helicopter air ambulance 'rescue' in Santa Catalina, where a French pilgrim had some kind of medical problem. She was fine, but maybe had just overstretched herself a bit. I suspect the air ambulance was using it as a kind of training exercise as much as anything else, because a land ambulance was also there. I was impressed by the response and the way the staff looked after her (she was sitting outside the bar getting checked over!).

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#5
The concept of charging for rescues is contentious here in the States. Some SAR teams think it's a horrible idea, as some folks won't call for help because they don't have the money to pay for the rescue...and such folks might therefore needlessly die. Others think the policy would help cut back on negligent hikers and, of course, the fines would bring in sorely needed revenue. I personally feel that asking folks who clearly weren't prepared (ignored weather reports and/or had inadequate gear for the conditions) should contribute at least something for their rescue. Honest accidents are understandable (twisting an ankle), but walking up a snow-covered mountain without carrying snowshoes or proper winter gear/layers is simply asking for trouble. Just my opinion, of course.

New Hampshire is about to institute a "hiker's insurance" system where one can opt to buy an insurance card each year OR pay a certain amount if there's a need for a rescue. I personally don't mind, as I (and many of my hiking friends) are of the mind-set that if you go off into the woods or up a mountain (during any time of the year) then you'd better be prepared to self-rescue as best you can if you get into trouble. I know people who have walked down mountains on broken limbs after fastening their own splints from branches and extra clothing. We get a lot of tourists, though, who walk up mountains in shorts and sandals in July assuming the mountaintops are going to have the same weather as the valleys....it might be summer down below but it's often hypothermia-weather up top. There are tons of rescues in the summer as well as in the winter....too many folks simply don't know what they're doing and they are not at all prepared. I think it's actually wise to insist folks pay, at least in part, for their rescue. 2000 Euros would be considered reasonable here, I think -- there have been past cases where the Forest Service wanted to charge close to $25,000.

Even an experienced winter hiker might want to avoid mountains he/she doesn't know very well if they're traveling solo (or without someone who knows those particular mountains). We're about to leave for the Camino (three weeks to go, woo-hoo!) and this is our fifth season of winter hiking in the Whites of New Hampshire. However, we know the Whites and we don't know the Pyranees...and we won't have snowshoes with us, or crampons, or ice axes when we hike the Camino. Though we'd love to experience the Napoleon Route, if there's deep snow up top then we'll have to enjoy Valcarlos instead. I've no intention of showing up here on this forum in a thread entitled "Mom and two kids rescued from mountain hut on Napoleon route"... :p
 

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#6
I think it a sad day for Navarra that they have joined others in charging for their emergency services and healthcare, and as stated above can only lead to people not calling out these services,its what puts us above the rabble that we take care of each other however foolish they may be.
I,m proud to come from a country (England) were we take care of our own (with no charge, including healthcare) and others including Spain and its self induced economic crisis,and don't get me started on the way that America treats it citizens.
maybe Navarra can start charging those imprudent enough to run in streets full of charging bulls 200-300 injured each year,mostly minor but many from the area have sadly died over the years
Spain also has its goat tossing festival,climb a church belfry and toss it out 50 feet into the crowds.
other imprudent acts include El Clacho (jumping over a row of babies under 12 months while dressed as devils)-La Tomatina ( hose a crowd with water cannons who then throw tomatoes at each other
and don't forget the bonfires of Saint John where children are encouraged to run through the fires :shock:
Ian
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#8
sagalouts said:
maybe Navarra can start charging those imprudent enough to run in streets full of charging bulls 200-300 injured each year,mostly minor but many from the area have sadly died over the years
Spain also has its goat tossing festival,climb a church belfry and toss it out 50 feet into the crowds.
other imprudent acts include El Clacho (jumping over a row of babies under 12 months while dressed as devils)-La Tomatina ( hose a crowd with water cannons who then throw tomatoes at each other
and don't forget the bonfires of Saint John where children are encouraged to run through the fires :shock:
Ian

Ian, good point. I suppose charging for rescues does seem silly when one considers all of the above.

Here, we have so many people who are blatantly unprepared (usually tourists who ignore the advice of the locals, don't look at the forecast, and simply don't comprehend what they're getting themselves into) -- costs can be high for a rescue and the money simply isn't there. The funds have to come from somewhere, the state apparently can't afford to keeping rescuing people for free. On the other hand, no one wants anyone to not be rescued for fear of having to pay for the helicopter evac. It's a difficult situation. The local politicians are carefully trying to figure something out, and they're listening to the viewpoints of hikers.

It's an issue with many gray areas, IMO. Anyway, good to know what to expect on the Camino in terms of policy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#9
I find it a good idea to charge people who put themselves in danger due to their imprudence, as the heading of this thread says.

Also here in Norway we are beginning to address this issue: People starting avalanches by skiing outside the prepared slopes, ignoring warning/prohibition signs, etc. But like in Spain, we will start rescue free of charge when it is needed. But, if the situation is caused by neglect/violation of regulations/imprudence, a charge will be considered. Rightly so, methinks: Why should society pay for the wrongdoings of idiotic/ignorant individuals?
 
#10
I can see both sides of this debate, in fact I have strong feelings going both ways, so I am really conflicted. On the one hand, I criticize the growing "get what you pay for" mentality in government. That is an anti-redistributionist attitude that accounts in no small part for the huge surge in "non-tax" charges that people in the US now pay for nearly everything. In some states this has gone so far as to impose charges on people who are incarcerated to pay their expenses. Governments in the US don't dare to increase taxes, people are rabid in their anti-tax sentiments. So, instead it adopts a new "fee" to pay for some government service, so that the people who use the service pay for it. Yes, but what about those who don't have the money to pay for it? What happened to government as the place where the social compact got fulfilled and revenues were redistributed to protect the public health, safety, and welfare?

Yes, but.... as Alex points out, what we are talking about here are individuals who have voluntarily assumed an unreasonable risk, right? Why should society pay for them? Why should a government that is having difficulty funding basic health care for all its citizens have to incur the cost of these heroic efforts to save some people from their own stupidity? Ian's examples are great illustrations of the many instances in which the government has decided to provide (and pay for) services for lots of people who do stupid things, so the question really is how do we decide which stupid things the Navarran government wants to subdidize? Those are political questions, and I'm sure a big part of this equation is that the people who are receiving these expensive rescue services don't pay taxes of any kind to any Spanish government unit, national, regional or local. (And, I'm also sure that the government has made the calculation that providing emergency services to people who run in San Fermin is a small price to pay for the huge revenues generated). So as a political matter, I think the answer is clear. As a moral matter, or as a matter of what is the point of government, I think it's muddy.

p.s. This reminds me of an issue that arose a couple of years ago, though the facts are quite different, the issue is exactly the same -- http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39516346/ns/u ... home-burn/
I didn't know what I thought then, and I don't know what I think now!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#11
We must have in mind that we are talking about services in Spain, whch are very, very different from USA. Medical assistanse is available for all. Also for citizens in the EU sone. I can give an example:

In 2011 i needed medical assistance in Spain. Open wound in one foot. I had my Norw. medical card with me; presented it at the hospital, was taken in for full treatment, and sent away with ample medications, bandages etc. Price: 7.50 Euro. The rest of the bill sent to the Norw. state.

But as peregrina2000 says, we are talking about situatons which should never occur, but happen due to (large) imprudence.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
#12
To me, one of the worst parts about this news (Five stranded Koreans) was the non-chalant, laughing-it-off attitude the stranded pilgrims demonstrated after they were found. They also stated they thought Spain was a sunny country :shock: .

Recklessness ought to be penalized; it really is quite simple. When you create a situation, you own the consequences. Fear of having to pay for rescue will (and it should) curtail bravado (i.e. stupid) and risky behavior. Hopefully, resources weren't tied for somebodyt with a legitimate need....
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
#13
sagalouts said:
I,m proud to come from a country (England) were we take care of our own (with no charge, including healthcare) and others including Spain and its self induced economic crisis,and don't get me started on the way that America treats it citizens. Ian
I must point out that here in England the healthcare may be "with no charge" but it is NOT free - everyone pays national insurance contributions throughout their working life to fund this service.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#14
There's also the issue of what exactly defines imprudence. In some cases, it might be obvious (wearing nothing but cotton, no snowshoes in waist-high snow, no headlamp, map or compass, etc.) However, in other cases it might not be so cut-and-dried. Here (NH, USA), there's debate over what defines "negligence" (the term used by our officials). One of the reasons many folks do not want a fine based on negligence is because the definition of negligence is not so clear.

The problem is, at least here, that the definition of "negligent" or "imprudent" could theoretically change depending on how much money the state needs...that's some of the local thinking, anyway. Heck, much of the nonhiking public think that the very act of hiking a mountain is crazy and negligent.

So -- what is imprudence/negligence?

Here, hiking solo is considered negligent by some officials -- which I think is silly, since most of the hikers I know choose to hike solo from time to time, even in the winter (myself included).

Is hiking at night negligent? Some officials think so, but some hikers make a point of hiking at night so they can be on a mountaintop at sunrise (or sunset).

Is hiking above treeline with children negligent? Some think so (I obviously don't, not if you're prepared).

Then there was the case a few years back of a woman who got disoriented near a summit during winter -- she had a sleeping bag, pad, and everything she needed for an emergency night out and, though she got caught in bad weather and deep snow, she did not need a rescue. However, someone sent up SAR to look for her and she was charged a bill (around $9000, I think)...even though she herself didn't ask for SAR and she had what she needed to wait out the storm and head down the next day on her own. Still, she was called "negligent" for going up in bad weather, and she was heavily fined...even though again was an experienced winter hiker with the gear to successfully spend the night out, and the trail she had chosen experiences minimal above-treeline exposure.

Etc. -- the point is, one's view of negligence isn't always another person's view of negligence. Therefore, charging someone due to negligence/imprudence might not be easy or fair.
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#15
alexwalker said:
We must have in mind that we are talking about services in Spain, whch are very, very different from USA.
Understood. However, the slippery-slope issue of what defines "imprudence" might still apply regardless of nationality. In some cases, it seems very clear that someone was foolish. In other hypothetical cases, perhaps not so much.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#16
the non-chalant, laughing-it-off attitude the stranded pilgrims demonstrated
You might want to assign that to cultural differences. Many Asians show nonchalance when embarrassed. The Japanese might bow a lot. It is almost certain that these Koreans did not speak Spanish, so they might have simply smiled because they did not understand a word of what was going on around them. Suddenly their were cameras in their faces, and a dozen incomprehensible questions in the air. Additionally, they may not have thought they needed rescuing. They survived the night in a shelter, dug themselves out, and were continuing on their way when rescued. They called 112, so they knew they were in a degree of peril, but they may have perceived that they were surviving just fine. Another foot of snow, and their determination to continue from the shelter might have been their demise. They dodged the bullet once, but a second shot might have gotten them.

Give them the bill. It will be a good reminder to them at their next decision point.
 
#17
Thanks for these comments. I think we would all probably agree that the pilgrims who walked up into the snow on the Pyrenees wearing tennis shows and inadequate protective gear were negligent. But as TrishAlex points out, people don't necessarily agree on what constitutes negligence, so a system that charges people for rescue services when they were negligent is likely to make some tough calls.

I agree that charging people for injuries caused by their own negligence might be difficult and might cause a lot of litigation, but it's what much of the US legal system is built on (so I'm only talking about the US here). We already allocate all sorts of costs and benefits based on whether the people involved are negligent or not. Though it's a difficult case by case decision, based on an assessment of the totality of the circumstances, I'm having a hard time thinking of a better way to determine when the government should charge (assuming we've rejected Ian's argument that the government should not charge). Once we go down this road, the totality of our experiences will start making some things clearer -- that is, we'll have precedent to rely on. So maybe we'll decide that you shouldn't have to pay to be rescued from a snow avalanche that occurred on groomed trails, but if you were out in the backcountry where you were told not to go, we will charge you. If you hike without a light at night and you fall, we'll charge you, if you carry a light and were taking reasonable precautions, we won't, etc. It'll never be perfect, but maybe it's an improvement on a system where the government is saddled with all these extremely expensive charges for doing what it thought was reasonably necessary to rescue someone who turns out not to have been acting reasonably.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#18
Spanish healthcare is absolutely fantastic in my limited experience, after my minor gunshot wound in December and after living in Valencia for a year, so that's not an issue at all. Get your insurance sorted and you'll be fine.

Just use your common sense. The people on this forum are bright bunnies and will work out when it's a good idea to amend plans depending on weather, festivals, holidays etc...

Buen Camino!
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#19
I'm fully in agreement that specialized services should be charged to the person/people being rescued. Most of these incidents are, as mentioned due to imprudence. I'm also sure that the person/ people in question are only too happy to be rescued!
There is, of course one safety valve here and that's to check out your travel insurance when you take it out and make sure that such eventualities are included! Anne
 

CJ Williams

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonense (1995)
Camino Francés (1996; 1999; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2011)
Camino Aragonés (2000)
#20
Just a brief comment in reply to one of the comments above. Ian:

Spain is not charging for healthcare. There have been cuts in some aspects of healthcare services due to the economic crisis, but healthcare is still covered by national healthcare plan and paid for by taxes, same as in England. Spanish healthcare is generally excellent, particularly here in Navarra, which has always managed its resources very well.

FYI, the hospitals and emergency services in Navarra do charge foreigners injured in the Running of the Bulls for medical and emergency services received.

And as Alexwalker pointed out above, EU citizens residing in the Eurozone need only present proof that they are covered by their nation's healthcare plan in order to receive treatment in Spain. These days, that means carrying the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) issued free of charge by your national health insurance provider. European Health Insurance Cards give you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries must carry their own traveller's health insurance when they visit Spain. And I agree with annakappa above, it would be prudent to make certain that the insurance you contract when planning to walk the Camino includes emergency evacuation and rescue services.
 
#21
Navarricano said:
And as Alexwalker pointed out above, EU citizens residing in the Eurozone need only present proof that they are covered by their nation's healthcare plan in order to receive treatment in Spain. These days, that means carrying the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) issued free of charge by your national health insurance provider. European Health Insurance Cards give you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Whilst I agree with you about the high quality of healthcare in Spain I'm not sure that carrying a European Health Card entitles the bearer to the same degree of free care they would receive in their home country. The UK government for example issues the following guidance:

"Temporary visitor in Spain

If you are a temporary visitor in Spain you can use your UK-issued European Health Insurance Card to access state-run health care. Anyone can get this card if they are ordinarily resident in the UK to cover all necessary treatment in Spain. That means treatment that can’t wait until you return to the UK, as determined by the Spanish health service. So you might be asked to pay for some services.
Please note that the EHIC card has an expiry date and only covers you - any other family members need their own card. The EHIC also will not cover you for long term, routine or planned treatment. See our EHIC information for further details."
http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for ... #temporary

Hence pilgrims would be well advised to have adequate travel/health care insurance in addition to having a European Health Card.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#22
Navarricano puts the rules nicely into place for us EU citizens. The treatment I got in Merida was outstanding!, and it only cost me 5.70 Euro!

But nevertheless, and as JohnnieWalker points out is needed. I have a year-round insurance in addition (covering up to 2 months of absence) for all that nasty stuff like needing a coffin, a private ambulance plane back home, serious specialist surgery, etc. etc. It covers expenses up to 1 mill. USD.

People resident outside EU should definietly have their insurance straightened out...
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
#23
Very interesting discussion above. My opinion is the at least I want to pay for the health care I need one day. If I don´t pay somebody else is paying - and Spain being in economic trouble and very high unemployment figures it is not fair the Spanish taxpayers cover for my healthcare.

That said I am not only covered by the EHIC but have a private medical travel insurance as well. And an insurance covering healthcare and possible disability caused by an accident.


I went on reading more about EHIC which I always carry with me when abroad. And found out that there is an APP you can download with all the info right into your pocket! All you need is a cell phone and a WiFi when abroad and you got it all in your pocket!
The App (called European Health) provides all kinds of info you need. For instance it says the EHIC only covers for the costs in the public healthcare not in the private healthcare and so on - links to the adress and telephone number to the nearest Public Health Care centre.

Buen Camino!
 
S

Sojourner47

Guest
#24
As Johnnie says, the E111 card covers only emergency treatment abroad, definitely NOT repatriation flights after serious illness/accident, as some unfortunate British tourists have discovered.
Moral: get adequate medical cover as well as carrying E111.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#25
There is insurance for this, available from your local alpine club, which will cover the cost of helicopter rescue in the mountains. If you don't have this insurance be prepared to pull out your VISA card.
 
#26
Just an aside. When checking the pack contents the other day I realised that my E111 was expiring. I now have a new one but have added checking ALL documents are valid and up to date has been added to my pre departure check list. Yes, I know it should always have been there but I admit to not being peerfect! :)
allan
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
#27
Another vote of confidence for the Spanish medical system and suppliers. In 1993 I fell ill while visiting Spain. Diagnosis: Chronic Bronchitis. A young Spaniard Doctor had me up and running in less than 48 hours. His medical treament and advice was spot on. Fast forward to 2010, severe sinus inflamation while visiting Barcelona. A consultation with a local pharmacist who gave me an anti-inflamatory. WITHIN 15 MINUTES, my inflamation started subsiding. The absolute best in my experience.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#28
Al the optimist said:
Just an aside. When checking the pack contents the other day I realised that my E111 was expiring. I now have a new one but have added checking ALL documents are valid and up to date has been added to my pre departure check list. Yes, I know it should always have been there but I admit to not being peerfect! :)
allan
Yikes! And do I know about taking expired documents! Adriaan forgot to check the expiry date if his credit card- it had been expired since February and this was in the month of September! We had to take a bus to get to Logroño on a Friday, to be able to fix the problem before the weekend! And this is the action of a VERY meticulous person, who always checks everything!!! Anne
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#30
Navarricanno:

I have several questions in order to educate myself. I hope you can help.

What is the make-up of the crew that performs the rescues? (numbers and job description)

Do they maintain round the clock shifts or are they called out as needed. Are they located in a response facility?

Is this a designated group per region? Funded by each region or central Government?

I understand you might not have all this information.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

ffp13

Addicted pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Completed Caminos: 2009 SJPP, 2011 Roncessvalle , 2012 Pamploma, 2013 Roncessvalle, 2013 Porto, 2014 Burgos, 2014 Porto

Future: Roncessvalle
#31
alexwalker said:
Navarricano puts the rules nicely into place for us EU citizens.
Citizens? I believe you mean residents, I am a EU citizen, but do not reside in any eu country, and therefore my status is the same as anyone from outside the EU.

I am also an Australian citizen and resident and can get hospital treatment in some EU countries that have reciprocal arrangements with Australia ,

United Kingdom (includes Northern Ireland)
Malta
Italy
Sweden
NewZealand
The Netherlands
Finland
Republic of Ireland
Norway
Belgium
Slovenia

Unfortunately Spain is not on the list:( but Italy or Netherlands are only a day trip away and just to be safe travel insurance.
 
#32
Charge them! Every year many Europeans, Asians and other visitors get lost or die in the Australian bush, desert or sea despite warnings from locals and ample literature on the subject for tourists on the dangers. We dont charge mostly but it costs an awful lot and rescuers have died in the process. At least our economy is healthy. Spain is cash strapped and needs assistance. Comments on self-induced economic crises are not helpful in regards the anguish of local ordinary people who didnt make the economic decisions that led to this state - they need every bit of support for their social services, education etc. I understand the fear felt by Americans and their take on the subject however given the inhumane lack of asistance they receive re healthcare etc from their govt. I do think though, a measure of self-responsibility is required in cases of imprudence and not the random act of nature i.e. Unforseen snow storms etc
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona March/April 2013
#33
peregrina2000 said:
Another rescue just yesterday -- 3 pilgrims lost between Valcarlos and Ibaneta. One with "light" hypothermia, two males in fine shape.

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/noticias/ ... _1010.html

I wonder if they will be hit with the new rescue charge. Buen camino, Laurie

As a newbie - with an appalling sense of direction - starting from StJPdeP, how difficult/ easy is it to go astray on that route StJean/Valcarlos/Roncesvalles - I've seen posts re taking the wrong turn near Arneguy but how would these pilgrims have got lost?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#34
As a newbie - with an appalling sense of direction - starting from StJPdeP, how difficult/ easy is it to go astray on that route StJean/Valcarlos/Roncesvalles - I've seen posts re taking the wrong turn near Arneguy but how would these pilgrims have got lost?
sergeantmajormammy,

On the Valcarlos alternate route there are several sections which pass through the forest. If pilgrims walked over snow or in fog or heavy rain they might have gotten confused and lost in such a spot. However the news report cites hypothermia as one pilgrim's condition. Perhaps they called for help because of that.

On my first camino I got lost in the woods out of Valcarlos by a stream yet was following the arrows. The last I saw was painted on a freestanding moveable sign. When I got out of the woods and 'found' civilization I asked a farmer for directions and mentioned the sign. His response was to point me in the right direction while saying something like "Oh those kids, they keep turning signs around!". ...Bottom line is we need to be AWARE.

Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#35
how difficult/ easy is it to go astray on that route StJean/Valcarlos/Roncesvalles
I did not interpret the article as saying they were on the Valcarlos route. I thought it was just a general description of the area in which the Koreans were lost. Ibaneta pass is on the Napolean route. The Valcarlos route can be done completely on the road. It should not be difficult to resiste the temptation to dive into a couple of meters of snow when the footpath takes a short cut in a couple of spots.

What is with the Koreans? I suppose that is mostly a rhetorical question. They have accounted for all the stupid rescues this year. They are generally very bright. Does enthusiasm make them dumb?
 

CJ Williams

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonense (1995)
Camino Francés (1996; 1999; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2011)
Camino Aragonés (2000)
#36
jpflavin1 said:
Navarricanno:

I have several questions in order to educate myself. I hope you can help.

What is the make-up of the crew that performs the rescues? (numbers and job description)

Do they maintain round the clock shifts or are they called out as needed. Are they located in a response facility?

Is this a designated group per region? Funded by each region or central Government?

I understand you might not have all this information.

Ultreya,
Joe
Hi Joe,

I'm afraid I don't have all of that information.

As far as I understand it from the articles that I have been reading, the crew performing the rescues is made up of a helicopter pilot, a rescue team trained for mountain rescues, a doctor and an "Asistente Técnico Sanitario", which would be something along the lines of a trained emergency healthcare responder like a Red Cross nurse, to assist the doctor.

Mountain rescues are tricky, and depending on the kind of rescue required, what part of the Pyrenees they occur in, at what altitude, and under what kind of meteorological conditions, the rescues would be coordinated between the Guardia Civil, the regional police force (in Navarra they're called the "Policia Foral") and other emergency response agencies authorized by the regional government. Here in Navarra, that would include organizations such as the Red Cross, the Agencia Navarra de Emergencias and other agencies which coordinate and provide services such as tracker dogs.

Each regional government in Spain funds and oversees the operation of these services within their territiories, not the central government as far as I know.

In an emergency situation, one calls the emergency number 112 and it would be the dispatcher who would relay the information to, and activate the response from, the appropriate agencies. In Spain, it is the Guardia Civil that is primarily responsible for directing search and rescue operations, though they do this in coordination with other more specialized agencies that provide helicopters, emergency medical personnel and rescue dogs etc.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: A smartphone with GPS and 3G coverage should be considered another piece of safety equipment that you bring along on the Camino. If you have one, you should definitely carry yours with you and have the GPS location mode switched on. Even if your battery dies and you lose call coverage, the Guardia Civil can use the GPS to locate you. Additionally, install the WhatsApp application, or some other instant messaging application, that allows you to send photos and videos in instant messages. If you are lost or become injured in a remote area, you can take photos of landmarks or the surrounding countryside and send it to the dispatcher or the officer you are talking to on the phone, helping them to locate you more quickly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Pamplona March/April 2013
#37
falcon269 said:
how difficult/ easy is it to go astray on that route StJean/Valcarlos/Roncesvalles
I did not interpret the article as saying they were on the Valcarlos route.

See, I even got lost in the wording of that sentence! Many thanks to you all :lol: !
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#38
Navarricano:

Thanks for your response.

I also appreciate the information you have provide to the forum in helping Us/Me make prudent decisions.

Joe
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese 2009 Estellas, 2014 Aurelia, 2016 St Davids, 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P
#39
It is easy to get lost, signs can be missing or turned around, BUT how can any adult, equipped for hiking, not be able to make do for themselves through a night, until they find their way again in the morning? You can put on all your clothes and waterproofs, you have water and basic food, you can huddle under a tree, fence or pretty much anything, especially in a group, until you get through the night. Yes, you may get cold, yes, you may run out/low on water, but you should survive! If you travel without basics, then perhaps you should have a taxi number and phone, so you can pay to 'rescue' yourself if you get lost of an evening!
People seem so bloomin' non-self-reliant nowadays... mutter, mutter, mutter
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#40
hecate105 said:
It is easy to get lost, signs can be missing or turned around, BUT how can any adult, equipped for hiking, not be able to make do for themselves through a night, until they find their way again in the morning? You can put on all your clothes and waterproofs, you have water and basic food, you can huddle under a tree, fence or pretty much anything, especially in a group, until you get through the night. Yes, you may get cold, yes, you may run out/low on water, but you should survive! If you travel without basics, then perhaps you should have a taxi number and phone, so you can pay to 'rescue' yourself if you get lost of an evening!
People seem so bloomin' non-self-reliant nowadays... mutter, mutter, mutter

The problem with hypothermia is that people sometimes don't realize they have it. People in advanced stages actually feel like they're too warm and they start taking off layers. Hypothermia messes with your mind and renders your thought process unreliable.

There was a man a few years ago who went hiking up a popular mountain near us in the winter. He was an experienced hiker and he carried everything a responsible person would need for an unexpected night out. He died on the mountain because, apparently, he became hypothermic without realizing it. The hypothermia apparently muddled his thinking -- he was found without much clothing (he had taken many of his articles of clothing off, I'm guessing in the late stages he felt too warm or hot), and he never used any of the emergency gear in his pack. He froze to death near a popular trail.

In short, hypothermia often messes with the mind and prevents one from realizing the danger one is in. If one does realize one is in the first stages of hypothermia and cannot properly get oneself warmed up, then it's best to call for help because the ability to take care of oneself will quickly deteriorate.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
#41
Good points. The man didn't "freeze to death" of course; hypothermia can occur well above the freezing point. Please don't take this as criticism of your excellent post. Just want to make sure no one thinks hypothermia only kicks in at or even near freezing. It can be a serious danger at relatively mild temperatures if one is not properly dressed for them

Karl
 
Camino(s) past & future
March-April 2013
#42
kmrice said:
Good points. The man didn't "freeze to death" of course; hypothermia can occur well above the freezing point. Please don't take this as criticism of your excellent post. Just want to make sure no one thinks hypothermia only kicks in at or even near freezing. It can be a serious danger at relatively mild temperatures if one is not properly dressed for them

Karl
Karl, thank you for correcting my poor choice of words. You are absolutely right, and I thank you for clarifying this. If one gets wet in 40 or 50 degree weather (F) and stays wet (and outside) for hours, then that's just as much a recipe for hypothermia as is hiking in below freezing temps.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Portugues 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#43
falcon269 said:
...
What is with the Koreans? I suppose that is mostly a rhetorical question. They have accounted for all the stupid rescues this year. They are generally very bright. Does enthusiasm make them dumb?
Most likely two things: Coming from a very different climate with no "stories" of such winter emergencies. What I mean is that people in the northern hemisphere a) experience winter and b) even if not hikers themselves, grow up more often then not, with stories of such winter hiking accidents / emergencies. It is, some how, in our common consciousness, but most likely not in the Korean one. Even if people tell you, things are theoretically until you experience them yourselves. And the next is that they come from a densely populated country with little "wilderness" left. So again, in the best of cases, only theoretical knowledge about the great outdoors. What is for most of us a "civilized wilderness" the Camino de Santiago, is perhaps already "real wilderness" to them because it is so far off from what they normally experience in their home country. And lack of information / experience can lead to really dumb behaviour without meaning that the person in question is dumb. Just my 2 cents, SY
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Portugues 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#44
hecate105 said:
It is easy to get lost, signs can be missing or turned around, BUT how can any adult, equipped for hiking, not be able to make do for themselves through a night, until they find their way again in the morning? You can put on all your clothes and waterproofs, you have water and basic food, you can huddle under a tree, fence or pretty much anything, especially in a group, until you get through the night. Yes, you may get cold, yes, you may run out/low on water, but you should survive! If you travel without basics, then perhaps you should have a taxi number and phone, so you can pay to 'rescue' yourself if you get lost of an evening!
People seem so bloomin' non-self-reliant nowadays... mutter, mutter, mutter
Many reasons, panic being the most important one. Somebody that has never slept one single night outside "in the wild" might well be panicking at that prospect, especially when / if the weather conditions are less than ideal. SY
 

CJ Williams

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonense (1995)
Camino Francés (1996; 1999; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2011)
Camino Aragonés (2000)
#45
SYates said:
falcon269 said:
...
What is with the Koreans? I suppose that is mostly a rhetorical question. They have accounted for all the stupid rescues this year. They are generally very bright. Does enthusiasm make them dumb?
Most likely two things: Coming from a very different climate with no "stories" of such winter emergencies. What I mean is that people in the northern hemisphere a) experience winter and b) even if not hikers themselves, grow up more often then not, with stories of such winter hiking accidents / emergencies. It is, some how, in our common consciousness, but most likely not in the Korean one. Even if people tell you, things are theoretically until you experience them yourselves. And the next is that they come from a densely populated country with little "wilderness" left. So again, in the best of cases, only theoretical knowledge about the great outdoors. What is for most of us a "civilized wilderness" the Camino de Santiago, is perhaps already "real wilderness" to them because it is so far off from what they normally experience in their home country. And lack of information / experience can lead to really dumb behaviour without meaning that the person in question is dumb. Just my 2 cents, SY
I don't know if I'd agree with that, SY. It appears that Korea has winter weather comparable to the north of Spain, as well as quite a few mountains. Despite being a relatively southerly country, Korea experiences a fairly severe winter. Temperatures in Seoul can drop as low as -20°C (-5°F), though the average is usually somewhere between 0°C and 10°C (32°F-50°F) in the day and -10°C and 0°C (10°F-32°F) at night, according to one source I've checked. Apparently, a pattern of three colder days followed by four milder days is fairly consistent from December through February.

And here's a lovely slideshow of the Korean countryside and mountains in winter: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AK/ ... um=10&no=5

How often that happens and how long the snow sticks around in Korea, I have no idea. But it would surprise me if the mountainous northern and eastern parts of Korea didn't get a good bit of snow every winter.

I think it's likely more a case of the Koreans not informing themselves adequately about what to expect in terms of the weather in Spain. Lots of people have this idea of Spain as being sunny and warm all year round (you know, bullfights, flamenco dancers and sangria :? ), when it is, in fact, the second most mountainous country in Europe and has winters that can be quite cold. Even the central meseta, which stands at quite a high elevation, can be bitterly cold in winter, as well as blisteringly hot in the summer.

That's not an idea that is limited to Asian pilgrims, by any means. A number of years ago, a friend and I had to "rescue" a young German pilgrim on the Camino between Pamplona and the Sierra de Perdón. He had come to Walk the Camino in January and had brought no cold weather gear with him! Just a few long-sleeved shirts and a pullover sweater for "chilly evenings" because he thought Spain was warm all year round. I kid you not.
 

CJ Williams

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Turonense (1995)
Camino Francés (1996; 1999; 2001; 2005; 2008; 2011)
Camino Aragonés (2000)
#46
I am cross-posting the following information on several threads that I have been started over the past month because it is important. We had another rescue on the Camino between St. Jean Pied-de-Port and Roncesvalles yesterday. Thanks be to God, this woman survived her experience, but it could easily have been otherwise, like poor Gilbert Janeri who died trying to cross the Pyrenees over the Route Napoleon only two weeks ago.

This article appeared in this morning's print edition of the Diario de Navarra newspaper. The translation and emphases are mine:

Firefighters from Burguete rescued another pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago yesterday. (4 April). The pilgrim was a middle-aged American (U.S.) woman who had turned her ankle. It took firefighters two hours to tranport the woman three kilometers along paths completely covered in snow. The woman and her son were walking the Camino, following the Route Napoleon over the mountain from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles; the Route Napoleon is snowed under at present.

Along the way, she sprained her ankle, and when she reached the shelter at Izandorre, radioed SOS Navarra for help. SOS Navarra, in turn, alerted the fire department in Burguete. This occurred at 4.30 in the afternoon. The firefighters reached the woman's location in 30 minutes, but transporting her to the paved highway, where they had left their vehicle, was quite a bit more complicated: by stretcher and at times walking with the support of the firefighters, it took the group two hours to cover the three kilometers distance.

I expect this lady will be charged for the rescue, as posted above. The Route Napoleon is still covered in snow, and it is still too risky to go that way. Orisson is open, but the advice continues to be to use the Valcarlos route.

Yes, it was an accident. Yes, she twisted her ankle, and some might say this could happen to anyone, even in summer. But folks, please... her rescue was complicated by the snow. Thank God she was able to get to the shelter, and thank God they got her off the mountain. but the weather here in Navarra has been cold and nasty for the past two days, more like January than April, and more snow is predicted in the moutnains for this weekend. Go the Valcarlos route, wear reflective vests and stay on the pavement.

God bless, be prudent and safe, and buen Camino!
 
#47
Navarra is not the only government that has decided to impose charges. As I was searching for something else I came across this recent article from the Voz de Galicia about a German pilgrim who got lost walking from Fisterre to Muxía and wound up on a rocky promontory and needed a helicopter rescue. The government has sent her a bill for 4,800 euros (she lives in Valencia), and she and her lawyer are disputing the charge, saying that this is a dangerous route without adequate marking.

Here´s a link to the article

I´ve walked three or four times between Fisterre and Muxía, and I am having a hard time figuring out how she wound up on a rocky cliff.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
#50
So, I am wondering whether this is a joke. A friend just sent me a link to an interview with the pilgrim who says something like -- "I'm the one who should be filing a lawsuit. I'm the one who spent several hours on a cliff because of the bad signage. I went where the arrows told me to go, I got lost, I almost died, and now they are suing me?"

Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like it fails the straight face test.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#51
Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like it fails the straight face test.
In the USA the idea would not be remarkable. For Spain it does surprise me!

I have a friend who is negotiating a $25,000 air evacuation bill for heart palpitations while riding his bicycle on a long trip to Utah. He stopped. A motorist called an ambulance. The ambulance called the helicopter. His insurance company is balking. While he was healthy enough to have covered over 3000 miles from the east coast of the U.S., he did have a "minor" heart attack.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#52
I have a hard time understanding how you can walk to a place where you can not walk back. Unless you become injured.

This incident happened in 2012. It will probably take another couple years to resolve and will likely be something less depending on the legal precedents. There probably is not a specific law that covers this type of incident. Would they charge the same for a local that had to be rescued? Do not misunderstand my point. Irresponsible actions should have consequences.

Mendi could be right. Her legal bills in the long run, might be substantial.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
#53
I have a hard time understanding how you can walk to a place where you can not walk back. Unless you become injured.

This incident happened in 2012. It will probably take another couple years to resolve and will likely be something less depending on the legal precedents. There probably is not a specific law that covers this type of incident. Would they charge the same for a local that had to be rescued? Do not misunderstand my point. Irresponsible actions should have consequences.

Mendi could be right. Her legal bills in the long run, might be substantial.

Ultreya,
Joe
Joe, I added to this thread a new story of the same type. If you look back at post #47, you'll see that Galicia just recently sent a bill for 4,800 euros to a German pilgrim who got lost between Muxia and Finisterre and needed a helicopter lift.
 

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