Travelers are catching up on trip opportunities lost due to the pandemic, and they’re planning multiple trips in 2023, according to the summer 2023 Global Rescue Travelers Sentiment and Safety Survey. Half of the world’s most experienced travelers are planning four or more trips this year.

Demand for adventure tourism has shot up since COVID-19 with African safaris, hiking trips, camping excursions and motorcycle tours experiencing the fastest growth. “Travelers are demonstrating a growing desire for authentic experiences in an increasingly globalized and connected world,” Richards said. “While pent-up demand is playing a role in the adventure travel boom, we don’t expect to see it subside anytime soon.”

Global Rescue continues to answer the needs of travelers at home and abroad without any disruption of service. In the past month, we responded to a variety of medical emergencies including a field rescue for a member attacked by a leopard in Botswana and a bush plane medical evacuation of a burn victim from a remote Canadian Arctic research facility. In a typical 30-day period, Global Rescue executes hundreds of operations in dozens of countries and territories. Below are highlights from some of our most recent operations in various locations.


Speedboat Rescue in Indonesia

A U.S. member surfing in Mentawai, Indonesia, was struck in the head by his board causing a severe injury to his eye. A friend of the member contacted Global Rescue and reported his friend’s right eye was lacerated with an embedded foreign object. The member received initial treatment and surgery at a local medical clinic. Following the surgery, the treating physician recommended the member be transferred to a hospital capable of a higher level of care in Padang for further management of his injuries. Global Rescue medical operations personnel evaluated the medical recommendation and coordinated a private speedboat to transport the member from Mentawai Island to Padang in mainland Indonesia. Following the successful transport, the member received further successful surgery for his damaged eye. The member reported feeling better and was discharged at the end of the day with pain medications before booking his return flight to his home in Maine, U.S.


[Related Reading: Altitude Sickness Strikes Again]


AMS on K2

A member from Texas developed severe headache, diarrhea, weakness, cough, altered mental status, and low oxygen saturation while trekking to Concordia Base Camp on Mount K2, Pakistan. The member’s expedition team contacted Global Rescue medical operations who recommended immediate evacuation by the fastest means after reviewing the case and the Concordia Base Camp nurse assessment. An airborne emergency medical field rescue was initiated, and the member was transported to a hospital in Skardu where he was examined, diagnosed and treated for severe altitude mountain sickness (AMS). The attending physician discharged the member following treatment and continued his recovery at his hotel in Skardu.


A leopard looks over its shoulder as it walks along a dirt road.


Leopard Attack in Botswana

A U.S. member was in a remote camp in Botswana when he suffered a leopard bite to his calf. He received multiple penetration wounds that were further complicated by the member’s history of a blood clotting disorder. He was taken to a nearby medical clinic that could perform basic wound care. Global Rescue medical operations staff initiated and completed a successful air ambulance medical evacuation flight transporting the member from Botswana to a Johannesburg, South Africa, hospital capable of a higher level of diagnostics and medical care. The member was treated and released.


Intestinal Bleed on Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan

A U.S. member climbing the Baltoro Glacier in Pakistan became severely ill over two days, suffering persistent diarrhea, progressive worsening of abdominal pain and labored breathing. The member tried antibiotics and rehydration salts for his condition, but the symptoms continued. A trained paramedic who was part of the climbing group reported the member’s condition, which included an abdominal protrusion, redness on the skin and unusually dark stools. The climbing leaders contacted Global Rescue medical operation personnel who determined that the symptoms suggested upper GI bleeding, a possible hernia or cellulitis, each of which required immediate evaluation. A helicopter field rescue was activated to recover and evacuate the member from the Baltoro Glacier to a medical center in Skardu where he was evaluated, diagnosed and treated for Melena due to damage to the upper GI lining. He received IV medications, antibiotics and gastric acid control medications. Treating physicians discharged him several hours later with a fit-to-fly assessment and a recommendation to get further evaluation and treatment upon his return home.


[Related Reading: How To Use a Global Rescue Membership]


Bush Plane Rescue From a Remote Arctic Lab

A U.S. member suffered multiple burns at a research station in the Canadian Arctic. A crew member contacted Global Rescue requesting assistance and possible transport of the member to a nearby medical facility. Global Rescue medical operations staff coordinated a field rescue from the remote lab site utilizing a bush plane to transport the member to a nearby medical facility. Following a successful rescue and transport, the member was evaluated and diagnosed with multiple first and second-degree burns to his hands, head, arms and chest while working at the Canadian Arctic Research Station. He was treated for his injuries and released to return to his home in Seattle, Washington, for further burn care.


Smoke from mountain wildfires billows into the air during the day.


Trapped by Canadian Wildfires

A wildfire trapped a group in Canada. They contacted Global Rescue and reported that nearly a dozen people were surrounded by a raging forest fire and were unable to leave while at an airfield exclusively serving a hydroelectric generating station in northern Quebec, Canada. Local emergency response was notified but it was uncertain if they would be able to reach the people cut off by the flames. The group was advised to stay inside but to move to the tarmac if the fire spread to the buildings. Global Rescue coordinated with multiple regional emergency response resources who were able to reach the group and evacuate them to safety. 


Motorcycle Spill in Japan

A U.S. member wiped out on a curve while riding his motorcycle in Bisuka, Hokkaido, Japan. The member was taken to an emergency facility in Nayoro City before another transport to a hospital in Asahikawa where a higher level of care was available. The member received surgery and was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The member suffered multiple fractures, renal injury, and traumatic brain bleed (subarachnoid hemorrhage). Treating physicians at the Asahikawa hospital recommended that the member be transported to a hospital in Taiwan for definitive care. Global Rescue medical operations physicians concurred following the case review and recommended immediate care upon arrival in Taiwan. The member was successfully transported to Taiwan and admitted to the hospital where treatment and recovery continue.


Double Rescue in Pakistan

A pair of South African members needed emergency field rescue from Paiju, Pakistan. One member experienced chest pain while trekking Baltoro Glacier. The other injured his foot and hand while coming to the aid of his companion. The member suffering from severe chest tightness and pain radiating through to his left arm tempered some of his discomfort by taking aspirin and supplemental oxygen. Meanwhile, the member with the injured ankle reported his foot had turned purple, was unable to bear weight and was experiencing severe pain and immobility in his thumb. Due to the conditions of both members, Global Rescue medical operations personnel activated an emergency airborne field rescue for the transport of both to a Skardu hospital. One member was admitted to the ICU for heart attack treatment (myocardial infarction). He was ultimately transported to an Islamabad hospital capable of a higher level of care. Following treatment in Islamabad, the member was transported safely to his home in Cape Town, South Africa, for definitive cardiac care. The member with the injured foot and thumb was transferred to a hospital in Islamabad for further evaluation before returning safely to his home in South Africa.