Posted by: calloftheandes | June 28, 2013

After Three Cold Nights, Korean Rescued Atop Pichincha Volcano in Ecuador

Patrick Wehrly carries Rho to a police helicopter.

Patrick Wehrly carries Rho to a police helicopter.

A Korean woman is hospitalized in stable condition following a mountaintop rescue, near Quito, Ecuador. Police were notified by technical crews who had been working on broadcasting equipment at nearby antenna sites.

Rescued on Thursday, June 27, Rho Jieun, age 22,  had not been seen since Monday afternoon when she was first reported missing. That same evening, firemen went to search for her. She had ridden a monorail cable car up the flank a volcano, Rucu Pichincha, just west of the Ecuadorian capital. Hiking trails from the tourist attraction, known as El Teleférico, lead farther up Rucu Pichincha as well as over to adjoining Guagua Pichincha.

Rho contacted the emergency service, ECU911, at 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday saying that she was lost, but a language barrier blocked pinpointing her location. Although further communication attempts failed to reach her, the use of security camera recordings at El Teleférico helped the Korean Embassy obtain positive identification of Rho.

Quito firefighters on Tuesday began the search for Rho, joining with two elite police units (Intervention and Rescue and Special Operations) and using helicopter support to look for her on Rucu and Guagua Pichincha. The efforts proved fruitless.

Around noon on Thursday June 2, searchers were dispatched by ECU911 after receiving a report from someone near El Teleférico. The caller had seen a person toward the north. An hour later workers with Ecuatronix contacted ECU911 to say that the Korean woman had been found at La Explanada (The Esplanade) a flat grassy area on Rucu, a 15,400 foot peak just west of Quito. Rho was near a clearing behind a cluster of telecommunications antennas that faces the capital city in the valley below.

Also responding on Mount Pichincha were staff of Radio Station HCJB, who were showing a soon to be installed FM transmitter to visitors, Patrick and Andrea Wehrly. The Wehrlys, from Montgomery, Texas had been accompanied by Mauricio Patiño and his wife, Tatiana de la Torre, along with Milton Pumisacho, Duval Rueda and Jim Childs.rescueJUN27bresize

They provided a dehydrated Rho with fluids and the warmth of the station´s pickup truck, with plans to take her to Quito to be checked by doctors at Hospital Vozandes. Instead, police dispatched a helicopter for the rescued Korean to be airlifted to at the Hospital de la Policia Nacional (National Police Hospital) in north Quito. Patiño phoned news director Edwin Chamorro in Quito to inform him of the rescue. He also sent pictures that were then posted on the station’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Several dozen visitors to the Radio HCJB Facebook account (HCJBLaVozDeLosAndes) had clicked Like to indicate their approval, so Chamorro later responded with, “If you like, you can send a greeting. It would be a great opportunity, as Jieun Rho will monitor our Facebook account.”

“Though you walk through the valleys of shadows, He will always be with you,” wrote María Fernanda Molina, quoting the Psalms. “Nothing is more real than this. Rho Jieun, I hope God guides you with His hand wherever you go.”

“Congratulations,” wrote S.F. Garces in response to Chamorro’s invitation. “This is the best way to reflect the love of God toward our neighbor. God bless you, Jieun, and get well soon.”

Sources- HCJB Global, ECU911, El Comercio, La Hora, Facebook, Twitter




  1. […] a police helicopter somewhere overhead, Jieun Rho attempts to direct searchers to where she shivers in the dark and cold of Pichincha volcano near Ecuador’s capital city […]

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