The worried parents of a Kirkham backpacker caught up in the Nepal earthquake disaster say he should be home today.
Communication is still poor, with many phone lines in the area still down, but Jayne and John Blott have had news from the Foreign Office their son Jonathan has been airlifted – together with his girlfriend Lena Holderer and friend Sam Stalker, also from Kirkham – to Kathmandu Airport.
Jonathan – known as Jonnie – was left trapped in the Langtang Valley, after the 7.8 magnitude quake hit last Saturday.
He was backpacking in the area, after finishing a neuroscience degree at UCL and had only been in Nepal for a week.
With many of Langtang’s villages destroyed, roads out of the area blocked, and continuing landslides, fears have been growing for those left behind.
Jonathan’s parents now hope he will arrive back in the UK this afternoon on a flight to Heathrow.
Mum Jayne, who lives in Kirkham, said she had received a phone call, at 3am on Wednesday, from Jonnie, saying he had been rescued from the immediate aftermath in the Langtang Valley to a refugee camp, by the Israeli Army.
She said the family was relieved the 24-year-old was now close to getting home.
“We are feeling better knowing our two are coming home. Lena’s parents are coming here from Germany.
“As far as I know, Sam is going back to India, with his girlfriend Dhawani, and is due back to Kirkham in June.
“We are grateful to the Israeli and Indian Army.
“When Jonnie was at the refugee camp, it was dire and it was worrying, as it was not possible to get to Kathmandu Airport over land.
“The Foreign Office have been pretty useless, but they called me Friday morning to tell me the Indian Army had airlifted them out.
“I asked when the next repatriation flight was leaving, and I was told it wasn’t their responsibility to get him on a flight.
“His dad had to text him his credit card number to secure a flight for him and Lena. They are due back to Heathrow this afternoon.”
Nepal says 6,204 people are known to have died in the disaster and 13,932 were injured.
But the government has warned the death toll could rise to more than 10,000, as the fate of thousands more in many remote areas remains unknown.
Landslides and poor weather have been hampering efforts to teach isolated districts.