U.S. Special Forces rescued an American trapped in Nepal this week after a devastating earthquake, according to his family.
Corey Ascolani of Illinois was on a trip to Nepal ahead of a planned September hike up Mount Everest with a childhood friend. Ascolani told that friend the night before the earthquake he was headed on a trail through Langtang National Park’s mountains.
Though Ascolani was originally traveling with one other person, they wound up in a group of about 80. Small rescue helicopters started picking up injured people from the mountains, his brother Damon Ascolani told The Daily Beast, but family and friends worried that the slightest change in conditions—like an aftershock—would doom him.
Damon said the family provided U.S. officials with the exact location of where Corey was last located. After five days trapped on the mountains, Corey was rescued.
“Special Forces came in at the end with a special transport helicopter and took the rest of them out,” Damon said, adding that just under 30 people were rescued along with his brother.
U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw told The Daily Beast that U.S. Army Green Berets were in Nepal for high-altitude training when the earthquake struck. McGraw said the Green Berets began providing assistance in rescue operations after the earthquake, but he would not confirm if they rescued Ascolani.
“Oh my god, I can’t even tell you how relieved we are,” Christine Bregar, Corey’s mother, told The Daily Beast.
Ascolani and the others have since been taken to the U.S. embassy in Kathmandu, where, Bregar said, they will “un-frazzle.”
“My brother was extremely fortunate that [in] the group he ended up with, someone had a satellite phone,” Damon said.
The area in which the group was found is much closer to the epicenter of the earthquake than it is Everest, but Damon believes it has gotten much less attention.
“It’s great that Corey’s back. A lot of families out there are still searching for people,” he said.