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05 June 2024, 11:23

DJI makes world's 1st successful drone delivery tests on Mt. Qomolangma

KATHMANDU 5 June (BelTA - Xinhua) - DJI has successfully completed the first-ever drone delivery tests on Mount Qomolangma from the Nepali side, paving the way for facilitating high-altitude mountaineering, emergency rescue and environmental protection operations, the Chinese drone maker announced Wednesday.

A DJI FlyCart 30 was used in the April tests, during which three oxygen bottles and 1.5 kg of other supplies were flown from the Base Camp (at an altitude of 5,364 meters) to Camp 1 (at about 6,000 meters) of the world's highest peak, and trash was carried down on the return trip.

The treacherous Khumbu Icefall lies just between the Base Camp and Camp 1, which is covered with ice blocks and considered very dangerous because of frequent avalanches.

"We need to spend 6 to 8 hours each day walking through this icefall," said Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, a climbing guide with Imagine Nepal Trek and Expeditions. "Last year I lost three Sherpas. If we're not lucky, if our time is not right, we lose our life there."

The DJI drone could carry 15 kg of supplies between the camps in 12 minutes for a round trip, day or night, according to the drone maker.

During the tests, FlyCart 30 flew as high as 6,191.8 meters on Mount Qomolangma situated on the border of Nepal and China and could carry a 15 kg payload steadily at an altitude of 6,000 meters.

"The ability to safely transport equipment, supplies and waste by drone has the potential to revolutionize Mount Qomolangma mountaineering logistics, facilitate trash clean-up efforts and improve safety for all involved," said Christina Zhang, senior corporate strategy director at DJI, which is headquartered in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong Province.

Following the tests, a Nepali drone company was contracted to establish drone delivery operations on Mount Qomolangma from May 22.

The DJI drone was used to bring down trash like ropes and ladders on May 29, and "it can carry 30 kg," said Jagat Prasad Bhusal, chief administrative officer of Nepal's Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, where Mount Qomolangma is situated.

"We plan to use it on Mount Ama Dablam" in the fall climbing season, Bhusal said of the DJI drone.

The 6,812-meter-high Mount Ama Dablam lies in the eastern Himalayan range of Nepal.
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