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Miracle On Everest -

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(generated from captions) Good evening, with an ABC news update. Good evening, Virginia Haussegger Day has kicked off with the largest with an ABC news update. World Youth Catholic mass ever seen in Australia.

More than 140,000 pilgrims Catholic mass ever seen in Australia at a massive wharf on Sydney More than 140,000 pilgrims gathered for the mass. The Archbishop of at a massive wharf on Sydney Harbour Sydney George Pell led the service after a welcome by Australia's Minister. An inquiry has blamed after a welcome by Australia's Prime error for a military Minister. An inquiry has blamed pilo off Fiji in 2006. However, the error for a military helicopter cras investigation has also uncovered a culture of risky flying in the elite Blackhawk helicopter squadron which it says culture of risky flying in the army'

which it says made the crash inevitable.

accepted a report which blames his inevitable. Indonesia's president ha

country for fuelling the violence East Timor . As it made the country for fuelling the violence in transition to independence. Susilo Timorese counterpart to sign a Bambang Yudhoyono joined his East

statement expressing remorse to

statement expressing remorse to thos who suffered in the violence. A

former Australian Federal Police

officer arrested in one of the country's biggest child pornography

operations Has been sentenced to 14

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Michael Edward Hatch could be out in

five months. And Canberras weather partly cloudy tomorrow with a low of five months. And Canberras weather - one and a high of 13. Sydney - Melbourne - 16. Adelaide -16. More one and a high of 13. Sydney - 18. news in an hour.

This program is not subtitled 'In one of the deadliest seasons on record, twelve people die on Everest. Lincoln Hall is one of them.' The doctors who've looked at the facts can't see why I'm alive. Lincoln. Are you OK? 'In a year when Everest fell from grace...

..Lincoln Hall makes history and cheats death.' The decision has been made to leave Lincoln today. 'This is the true story of Lincoln Hall

and his extraordinary journey back from the dead.' 'The 2006 Everest climbing season became the most controversial ever. The ethics of commercial mountaineering hit headlines around the world. Climbers were accused of putting their own ambitions above the lives of fellow mountaineers. A record 500 climbers summitted Everest.

Some died trying.' For anyone to climb Mount Everest, it requires a super-human effort. 90% of the people who set off to climb Everest, never discover how hard it is because they turn back before then. Even when you're using oxygen, it feels like you're on a treadmill and breathing through a straw. No matter how hard you try, you just can't get enough. 'In 30 years of mountaineering, Lincoln Hall has summitted many of the world's great peaks but not Everest.' People are certainly drawn to Everest because it's the ultimate symbol of adventure.

I mean, there are other mountains that are harder, or more beautiful perhaps, but of course nothing else is higher. It just leaves everything for dead. 'So in 2006, when Lincoln receives an invitation to join an expedition to the north side of Everest, he doesn't hesitate. But it's a risky proposition. At 29,000 feet, the summit of Everest has 30% of the oxygen that exists at sea level. Ascending too quickly can lead to acute mountain sickness and eventually death. Recent study suggest that climbers over 50 are at least twice as likely to die at this height. Lincoln Hall has just turned 50. Putting his writing career on hold, he'll be leaving his wife Barbara and two teenage sons behind.' That is hard to explain why you'd face such dangers. But I knew how dangerous it was. And I felt that the dangers were within my grasp.

'Lincoln begins his journey from Base Camp. 18,000 feet above sea level. From here, he'll move up to glacier to Advance Base Camp. Then up the ice slopes to Camp One. Then he'll climb through the high camps and hopefully on to the summit. Lincoln has now spent two months on the mountain acclimatising to the low oxygen levels. This footage shows members of Lincoln's expedition. It has cost each climber $15,000 to join the 20-strong international team run by Russian Everest veteran, Alex Abramov.' Today, it's a little way, about four hours. From here, it seems very close

but for real, it's not less than four hours. So people should be brave today. And I hope everybody reach this altitude. The weather's perfect. 'Climbers on Everest must also battle the weather. There's usually only a two-week window every year that allows access to the summit. However this year, the weather is unseasonably good, keeping the window open for much longer. More climbers make summit attempts but the casualty rate has also been higher.

Already this season, there have been nine deaths. Just before Lincoln leaves Camp One, news arrives of a tenth. It is Russian team-mate, Igor Plyushkin.' LINCOLN: One of the Russian climbers from our team had got into some sort of difficulty. He was actually a very experienced climber, but he was having problems and suddenly I learnt that he was dead. 'Igor's death is a wake-up call for Lincoln. Igor is a similar age and also an experienced mountaineer.' LINCOLN: That was a shock. There had already been a number of deaths on the mountain so already this was an expedition that I had never experienced because there was just so much death this time around. 'It is now late in the season and very few climbers are left on the mountain. Most of Lincoln's team have already made their summit attempts or have turned back. The only members remaining are Lincoln and German climber, Thomas Weber, with his guide. Climbing at their own pace, they'll continue up the mountain for three more days to camps two, three,

then the summit.' Not long after the Sherpas and I left a halfway camp to hit to the high camp, we came to a big flat rock. It was an obvious place to rest, there was this sort of long pile of rocks in front of us, and you could see that there was a body under there. 'It is the grave of Igor Plyushkin, the Russian climber who died two days earlier.' LINCOLN: Igor's death had been in my mind since it happened. And to come across his body was just a shock.

'Everest has become the final resting place for around 200 climbers. Lincoln's three Sherpa companions - Dorje, Dawa and Lakcha are accustomed to encountering their frozen remains.' The Sherpas don't like to move the bodies.

I guess there's a part of superstition in there but there's also a Buddhist belief that when someone dies, consciousness leaves the body over a three-day period. So a body should be left in the one place for three days. And of course, nobody can hang around up there for three days or they'll just add to the body list.

'Too difficult and dangerous to retrieve, most of Everest's victims remain where they fall. 22 years ago, Lincoln came close to being a victim himself. This footage, shot in 1984, records an attempt to summit Everest by an unclimbed route up the north face of the mountain. Organised by Lincoln Hall, it was a climb that would go down in mountaineering history.' The route that we chose on the north face turned out to be... ..very dangerous, there were a lot of avalanches. 'The attempt was brave but perilous. To find a new route without fixed ropes, Sherpa support or oxygen.' LINCOLN: And in the end, we were really stretched. 'Lincoln's climbing partner was Greg Mortimer.' It was an extraordinary formative experience for everyone involved. We were a very close group of friends.

On our appointed summit day, Lincoln wasn't feeling right and his feet and hands - particularly his feet - were really cold and he was worried that

if he went on, he was gonna get frostbitten considerably. So he just made that gut-wrenching decision to turn around. They're at the summit. They're on the top. 'Greg Mortimer achieved his ambition by summiting that day. But Lincoln Hall missed his chance.' Really, it was a survival decision for me. It was probably the hardest decision I've had to make and... But is was the right one. 'But it's a decision Lincoln has had 22 years to think about.

What makes Everest so dangerous is not its technical difficulty but the extreme altitude. No amount of climbing experience can prepare the body for its unpredictable effects. Above 27,000 feet, human life is most at risk, which is why it is called the death zone. Still reeling from his encounter with Igor's body, Lincoln is forced to consider whether to continue.' 'I thought, "Well, this here now is the purity of mountaineering. Do I want to go on?" And I actually wrote a list about why I should and why I shouldn't.

I rang Barbara.' Hi everyone, it's me. I guess you're out. Happy birthday, Dylan. BARBARA: I guess we'd be talking about it on and off for years. He's always carried that disappointment of not achieving his dream the first time around. So it was an opportunity to see whether he was able to do it. And there was just a message on the answering machine, just reassuring us that it was optimum conditions. The weather was perfect, he was climbing strongly, climbing with oxygen, climbing with three Sherpas. So everything was great. LINCOLN ON PHONE: I'm feeling strong, the weather's fantastic. And we'll be leaving at midnight. I love you all. Goodbye for now. 'It's midnight and Lincoln Hall is at the point of no-return. After 22 years, his chance to summit Everest has arrived again.' Dawa! Dorje! 'After four days of solid climbing, he heads into the death zone where survival depends upon speed. Only 3,000 feet below the summit, Lincoln will try to ascend and return as quickly as possible - a gruelling 18-hour day.'

LINCOLN: One of the unpleasant aspects of mountaineering is the procedure of getting up in the middle of the night so that you have the whole of daylight to use for your climb. You got this big mask in front of your face which means you can't really see your feet very well. And you've got the headlamp on, so you've got a very narrow beam of lights. 'But suddenly, Lincoln comes face-to-face with yet another victim of Everest's brutal conditions. It is the body of British climber, David Sharp.' LINCOLN: It was quite shocking. His body was literally frozen solid. 'Of the 11 deaths during this climbing season, the most famous is David Sharp. Ten days earlier, Sharp had crawled into a shallow cave.

It was his third attempt to climb Everest, but his method was extremely risky.' LINCOLN: He had a minimalist approach to climbing. He had no Sherpa support, he had no real contact with other expedition members because he didn't have a radio. When he was discovered dying, nobody even knew who he was. He was very much alone. 'As many as 40 climbers walked past David Sharp as he laid dying. Concealed in the darkness, most didn't see him. Those who did see him assumed that he was resting or already dead but David Sharp didn't die that night. The next morning, he was still alive. Now visible in the daylight, the returning climbers began to notice him.' LINCOLN: It was a very tragic situation. Climbers coming back from the summit in the coldest night of the season and eleven cases of serious frostbite that night alone. That was the worst night of the season to be out in the elements and that's when David Sharp was dying. 'The media reacted swiftly to the news that David Sharp was left to die.'

REPORTER: David Sharp ran into trouble on the mountain and he's passed by a number of climbers... REPORTER: 40 other climbers passed by mountaineer David Sharp as he lay dying. REPORTER: Has commercial mountaineering made climbing a remarkably heartless pursuit? REPORTER: Criticism all the more stinging since it comes from Sir Edmund Hillary. HILLARY: He was a human being, and we would regard it as our duty to get him back to safety. REPORTER: The headlines re-ignited the debate about the ethics of mountaineering and whether or not they're being corrupted by modern, commercial and personal imperatives. LINCOLN: David Sharp's situation was portrayed as climbers concerned only with their own ambition. GREG MORTIMER: Synthesising these things in the comfort of your own lounge room can't let you understand what's taking place above 8,000 metres. It's such a fine line between getting it right and getting killed.

LINCOLN: The reason David Sharp could not be rescued was because it was physically impossible to do so. He could not walk

and the reality of being at extreme altitude is that everything effectively weighs four times as much because you don't have the oxygen in your system to make your muscles work. So to be able to lift a dead body or a nearly-dead body is just impossible. There was just no chance of bringing him down at all, no chance. 'Lincoln and his Sherpas are making good progress. They reach the notorious second step, shown here. It's a 1,400-foot vertical rock wall, the biggest obstacle on the climb. After nine hours climbing, Lincoln and his three Sherpas approach the summit.' LINCOLN: I could see the summit ahead, there were some prayer flags dangling over the very steep leap of the east face. And that was an indicator that that was the summit. It was obvious that we were gonna make it.

There's a last little steep section to the summit which is just how it should be, I guess.

And the one last step and I was on the top. There was no-one else there.

It was just an incredible privilege, I guess, to have it just to myself, the highest person on the planet. It was quite a unworldly feeling, it's not... It's not one of those punch-the-air type jubilation events. Tops and mountains aren't like that, you've got the whole rest of the mountain, it's only half-time, you got no locker room to go into, you know. 'Back at Base Camp, Lincoln's old friend, a 1984 expedition member, Mike Dillon is the first to hear the news in the communications tent.' That day that Lincoln got to the summit really started well for us

because I just happened to be near the radio room and I heard his voice. 'Monitoring progress, 8,000 feet below,

is expedition leader, Alex Abramov.

These are the actual radio transmissions.' And he was totally lucid, he was calm. And it was nine o'clock in the morning and everything was... It was fantastic. 'His wife Barbara receives the good news.' The phone call came to say that Lincoln had summitted and you know, wasn't that fantastic? But I did have this inner reservation because I hadn't wanted to hear about the summit, I just wanted to hear when I knew he was down and safe. 'Lincoln now has the most dangerous part of the climb ahead of him - the descent.' We had a good rest on the summit, we were there for 20 minutes. And that was really long enough because... ..I feel very uncomfortable on... It might be a magnificent place but on a high summit, I feel uncomfortable. I know that it's a very dangerous place to be, I know how quickly time can pass, how you can be mesmerised by the view. So we headed down, the three Sherpas and I. '150-feet below, another member of Lincoln's expedition, Thomas Weber, is forced to turn around.' Very close to the summit, Thomas had to turn back because he was starting to lose his balance and sort of veer off. Some of his mental functions were beginning to not work properly. And at that point, the guide decided that they should head on down. 'After the adrenaline surge of summiting, climbers on descent face a bigger battle - total exhaustion and the threat of running out of oxygen.' The descent of any big mountain is always the most exhausting part of the climb. And so I wasn't surprised when I started to feel incredibly exhausted. There was this big snow slope which was like a really easy descent. And I suppose that was a bit of a danger for me perhaps in the fact that I really didn't have to think about it and that maybe allowed me to let my mental guard down. 'Lincoln doesn't know it but he begins to suffer from high altitude cerebral edema. Low pressure is forcing fluid to leak inside his brain, causing it to swell up. Symptoms are lethargy, hallucinations and irrational behaviour. Lincoln must descend immediately or he will die.' (ALL TALK AT ONCE) Lincoln, can you hear me? (SPEAKS ON RADIO) Lincoln, can you hear me? Can you hear me? LINCOLN: And I just developed this incredible lethargy. Er, and I didn't see it as anything other than lethargy. I wasn't unconscious but I just lost it. 'News of Lincoln's condition is yet to reach Base Camp as the expedition leader is preoccupied with another unfolding tragedy. An urgent radio call is received from climbers 150-feet below Lincoln. It's Thomas Weber's guide. Thomas has died. Oh, for (BLEEP) sake. MIKE DILLON: What apparently had happened was that Thomas

had simply said to the guide, "I'm dying," and he died, just like that. It's strange, he's had some premonition.

It's just one of these strange things that happen on Everest. Jeez, what a tragedy. But the worst news was, out of the blue, the expedition leader who was monitoring the activities high in the mountain suddenly told Thomas's Sherpa to go up again to help Lincoln, and he was in trouble, that Lincoln was in trouble - first time we knew about it. Oh, (BLEEP)! And this was a double terrible shock to us because he was, as I said, there's no reason why anything should have gone wrong with Lincoln. 'Thomas's Sherpa, Pemba, begins to climb back up the mountain to where Lincoln is fighting for his life.' (MUMBLES)

LINCOLN: I was struggling but the Sherpas were struggling more because they knew that if they didn't get me down, I'd die. That's what happens with cerebral edema. And I was being so uncooperative. It would have been the worst day of their lives. 'Back at Advance Base Camp, Lincoln's friend and fellow climber Kevin Augello is manning the radio. Kevin came to Everest as part of a film crew, but was unable to acclimatise. He remained at Advance Base Camp to support the team. His video diary records what happens next.' With information from the Sherpas, Lincoln is...

..I suppose best described as...crazy, as altitude-crazy. I just hope that the Sherpas are trying to literally kick him... ..to move, but he's just gone mad.

LINCOLN: It was a rough day for Kevin cos not only was he on the radio and suddenly hearing the news that Thomas had died, but a few hours later, he heard that I was dying as well. Lincoln! Are you OK? I just hope Lincoln takes a big breath of oxygen and gets moving,

because he's a good man. 'The Sherpas have no choice but to try and manhandle Lincoln down to safety. In the communications tent, Lincoln's team-mate, Richard Harris

tries to make him focus.' 'Pemba, Thomas Weber's Sherpa, arrives to help with Lincoln's rescue.' LINCOLN: 'I'd have some moments of lucidity.' What are you doing here? 'He said, "Thomas has died." And that was just a huge shock, it seemed so unconceivable since he seemed to have been going so well. And that's then, I shut down again.' 'Cerebral edema is toying with Lincoln's mind.' I'd thought I was in Queensland, a really severe case of wishful thinking. I actually felt quite safe and quite happy just to be there. And then I heard an Australian voice speaking English.' 'What I was actually hearing was Mike Dillon's voice on the radio.' It was so frustrating being down there because you're so far away from everything, you can't rush up and try and help rescue Lincoln.

All you can do is try and rescue him with your voice. LINCOLN: The urging became so persistent that suddenly I realised that in fact I was way up on this huge mountain and this was an exceptionally dangerous situation. I suddenly took the instruction to continue abseiling. 'In his delusional state, Lincoln has to abseil down the treacherous second step. All the Sherpas can do is watch helplessly. In Australia, Lincoln Hall's wife, Barbara, waits anxiously for news from Everest.' And of course I had been thinking the whole time on my way home from work, calculating the hours and thinking when I got home at about 6pm that there should have been a message by then, but there wasn't. PHONE RINGS 'Then comes the worrying news that Lincoln is still near the summit.' I immediately felt really sick and full of dread, because he would have been up near the summit for probably six or seven hours and I couldn't imagine what difficulty he was having. 'At 28,000 feet, Lincoln's difficulty is the second step. This footage shows the 150-foot vertical rock face. In his disorientated state, it's proving extremely dangerous.' LINCOLN: My mind was saying abseil but my body couldn't handle it, I whizzed down the ropes pretty well out of control. What happened was I swung across and slammed into Pemba. To try and stop the - me hurting him so much, I sort of thought, "Well, I'll use the spring of my leg to slow down the impact," but unfortunately I had these spiky things called crampons on the end of my boots, which are really sharp - I mean they're designed so your feet don't slip on ice. Well they certainly didn't slip on Pemba's thigh either. At the time, I hadn't realised I'd hit him with the crampons and that I had actually wounded his leg quite badly and we're like two spiders hanging beneath this cliff on our webs of ropes. 'Pemba is badly hurt. But he and the other three Sherpas simply refuse to give up on Lincoln.' People say that the Sherpas should have left me when I was being really difficult.

But the Sherpas just don't think like that.

What they were engaged in doing was getting me down the mountain and that's what they were gonna do. 'After getting Lincoln down the second step, they managed to put him on the radio. This is his transmission.' (LINCOLN COUGHS) LINCOLN: The Sherpas really struggle to get me as far as they could. But eventually they had to stop. 'In an extraordinary feat of endurance,

the Sherpas have dragged Lincoln as far as they can. But at 28,000 feet, they're still in the death zone. Running out of oxygen here means almost certain death.' When Lakcha, Dorje, Dawa and Pemba finally got me to a point where I spent the night, they could do nothing else, we had a 19-hour day there. And it wasn't 19 hours of descent, it was 19 hours of struggle. And so it was an extraordinarily hard thing for them physically. We'd all run out of oxygen, dehydrated. We were all close to death. 'But that's not all. Lincoln faces yet another threat - the bitter cold. Frostbite is a result of the body's attempt to preserve its core temperature. Blood vessels near the skin begin to constrict forcing blood in the essential organs. Without warmth, the cells in the extremities begin to freeze. Down at Advance Base Camp, Kevin Augello is realising that time is running out.' The decision at some point has to be made to leave him today. Yeah, but could you? His best friend. No way. Yeah, but the decision has got to be made by the Sherpas and Alex. They can't... They're on a knife-edge ridge that only one person can walk by. If he doesn't want to move because he's just become completely delirious, what can they do? And at one point, you decide, because otherwise you're gonna have one dead climber plus three dead Sherpas. Yes. 'It is at this point that Lincoln sleeps into a coma due to cerebral edema. His brain is shutting down and his respiration becomes barely perceptible.' LINCOLN: From what I understand, they were monitoring my vital signs. My breathing was getting less and less frequent and more and more shallow. They couldn't find a pulse. One of them poked me in the eye to which I didn't respond at all. 'At 5:20pm, the Sherpas declare him dead.' The decision has been made to save the Sherpas' lives, and that's to leave Lincoln. The Sherpas have been working at over 8,000 metres now for over 24 hours. And although the Sherpa people are very strong and very tough, and very kind and loyal, there's only so much they can do before their own lives are being put at risk.

'The Sherpas stay with Lincoln for another two hours until finally expedition leader Alex Abramov orders them down. They take Lincoln's belongings and he's left alone with no oxygen, water or shelter. Nobody has ever been left for dead this high and survived. BARBARA: I was meditating by the fire and somehow I felt Lincoln's arms around me. And I didn't like the feeling of that at all. MIKE: My next step of course was to have to phone Barbara, his wife, and we just knew what a tragedy...

We were just a small part of his life, but to have to suddenly make the phone call to say that, you know, he died, to his family, that was terrible. PHONE RINGS Another phone call came through from Base Camp. And I just knew instantly that it was the worst news possible. I didn't want to hear it, I didn't want to continue the conversation, but I had to be told. Mum called us out there and it had been Mike who'd called. Er, and... She sat us down on the couch and said, "Boys, about 20 minutes ago, your dad passed away".

Everything just seemed to go blank. And we just sat there together in a huddle, holding hands and hugging and crying. We didn't know what to do. 'Alone, the highest person on Earth, Lincoln Hall, has been declared dead. News of the tragedy quickly spreads around the world.' GREG: For those involved, I think it's kind of like one of those things like, "Where were you when John F Kennedy was shot?" type of things. That depth of shock and horror and warm emotion and you know, that crazy mix of things that goes with the death of a very dear friend. And oh, it was hard. We left discussing plans to build a memorial to him at Base Camp. I remember, I looked back up at the mountain and I'd never seen it look more beautiful. Like it had a translucent quality. And of course Lincoln was up there and Lincoln was dead. 'But something unexpected happens that night - the weather begins to change. A blanket of cloud covers Lincoln preventing the temperature from dropping below -25C.' LINCOLN: I mean it's very hard to know exactly what happened. I resurfaced somehow and I actually woke up. And I realised where I was.

'Lincoln's luck begins to turn.' Whatever way you look at it, it was a very strange set of circumstances.

I'd been left for dead and yet, at one level my mind was connecting. There was all this stuff still happening in my head and it's all very vivid. 'Determined not to die, Lincoln's subconscious begins to fight back. He starts to hallucinate.' That was a case of me rejecting death and insisting on life. And the way that was expressed to me was I was wearing a grey cloak, and that cloak was like the cloak of death,

it was welcoming me and I was wearing it. And I knew I had to accept the cold and whatever else was going to happen if I put that cloak away.

And then I felt like... I felt like a pilgrim, someone who knows where they've got to go, who doesn't know what the journey is going to be

but knows that it is his only choice in life. I'm not arrogant enough to think that I'm so special

that I can just decide I'm not gonna die, and not die. I had to believe that I wasn't going to die, because otherwise I'd not had been able to face that impossible set of circumstances - the hyperthermia, the hypoxia, the exhaustion, the dehydration, the cerebral edema. It was a death sentence, and I had to utilise everything I had learnt over three decades of mountaineering. 'Drawing on years of Buddhist meditation and yogic breathing techniques, Lincoln is able to remain conscious

in spite of hyperthermia.'

LINCOLN: Soon, the sun came and there was this amazing life-giving warmth. 'After 30 hours in the death zone at -25C, Lincoln Hall should really be dead. Hallucinating widely, he's in the final dangerous stages of hyperthermia, and he's still a long way from safety, but his lucky streak continues.' There was so much good fortune, and one of the most dramatic was the appearance of a team of four climbers who were heading for the summit. 'Unlike David Sharp who died ten days earlier, Lincoln is fully conscious, moving around and clearly visible to the approaching mountaineers.

Climbing that morning is a team led by American guide, Dan Mazur, with Jangbu Sherpa, Andrew Brash and Myles Osbourne.' I was kind of staring down at my feet as you do because you're just so focused on one foot in front of the other.

And I kind of looked up and then I saw this kind of yellow, kind of blob sitting up there on the ridge. And I was just completely dumbstruck, I didn't know what to think.

What are you doing here? We went up to him and the first thing that he said was, "I bet you're surprised to see me here".

And that was the thing that completely threw me. LINCOLN: When Myles and his party found me that morning, I was stunned to see that I'd unzip my down suit and was half-undressed. There were two possible reasons - one is that I was rejecting the cloak of death, and the other is that I was in the final stages and about to die.

'Up to 50% of hyperthermia victims are found with their clothes off. It's called paradoxical undressing.

When death is imminent, blood returns to the extremities in a rush, producing the sensation of a hot flush.' MYLES: I don't think it even crossed anybody's mind until that point as to, "Well, would we go to the summit or not?" Who are you? I'm Lincoln Hall. We found a climber. He says his name's Lincoln Hall. LINCOLN: I was behaving erratically, not that I was aware of it. The first thing they did was to secure me to a rope. I wanna get off the boat. MYLES: At the time, he thought he was on a boat and the one thing that he was desperately trying to do, frozen fingers and all, was to try and pull himself off the ridge there, to try and kind of disembark from the boat, which obviously wasn't the best way at the time, cos it was about a 10,000-foot drop. Off the boat... PARTY TAPS ON HIM 'Down at Advance Base Camp, Kevin has had a bad night.' Yesterday was a horrible day. We lost two very, very good friends. Thomas in the morning and then the hell of a day with Lincoln. Hmm, last night I went to bed and I'll be honest I shed some tears in my tent for them. I just couldn't believe that we lost two friends on the mountain. Today I woke up and as you can see it's a beautiful day on Everest. Went up to Alex and heard the news that...Lincoln is still alive. So Alex instantly launched a rescue. And currently these amazing guys from Nepal are climbing up there to hopefully bring our friend down. 'Myles and his colleagues stay with Lincoln for four hours.' MYLES: Just before we saw Lincoln, I firmly believed till that moment that there was nothing that could stop us from reaching the summit. 'The time spent with him has meant their precious oxygen supply has depleted, and it's now too late in the day to continue.

After years of saving to raise the $15,000 he needed for the expedition,

it is all over for Myles.' I knew then that in my lifetime I was never ever going to get to the summit, I took one last look, took a picture and then got down as fast as possible. I was so pissed off I can't even tell you.

LINCOLN: I know what it's like to turn back from the summit, I know that sort of huge burning sense of disappointment. And I do know that Myles felt that as well. MYLES: It took me 24 hours to get the perspective that in the big picture, everything had worked out fine. Missing the summit didn't bother me that much, Lincoln was OK... ..and I got so many emails from friends at home who'd said, "I don't know what I'd have done if I'd read that you'd left this guy and go on to the summit."

Base Camp, Base Camp, do you receive? Over. 'Due to a radio blackout, Kevin is unable to transmit the good news.' Base Camp, Base Camp, from ABC. Over. His family believes he's dead. And yet the man is almost having a fist fight with the Sherpas that try and bring him down. It's almost comical, if it wasn't so sad. Base Camp, Base Camp, do you receive? Over. Of course we all know this up here but his friends down at Base Camp are going through hell believing their friend is dead. And I can't tell them. Base Camp, Base Camp, do you receive? Over. 'It is several hours before Kevin eventually get through to Base Camp. And from there, the good news spreads around the world.' People in their office in Sydney saying they'd heard somewhere via the internet that Lincoln might be alive. And my immediate response to that was, "No, don't go there. Don't clutch on to that, given we've just been through the trough of death." Until we found out for sure what was going on. Well I was just generally surfing the net,

someone emailed me a bunch of news links saying stuff about my dad. And it had on the front page, "Everest climber found alive".

And it had a picture of dad there. It was stated as a fact that he was alive. And so we... (SIGHS) We breathed heavily for a while and we couldn't believe it. 'After 36 hours of fighting for his life, Lincoln Hall makes his momentous arrival at Advance Base Camp.

He's exhausted and emotionally drained. Kevin Augello is there to capture the moment.' LINCOLN: 'I almost left my children without a father and my wife without a husband, and had that happened, I could not even begin to think about forgiving myself. Which was why I just had to come back.' Hi, there.

I only got the opportunity to talk to Barbara

once I was down in Advance Base Camp. So apparently I'm getting down soon. Lincoln's voice was so unrecognisable -

faint, croaky, crackly,

that I wasn't sure it was him. Tell her you're well, come on. Yes, I'm well. They tell me to tell you, they're forcing food into me. She couldn't believe it was me and what I did was I said, "Well of course it's me! I hope you haven't started looking for another husband." I thought, "Well, that really is... that's him." What do you reckon? Doesn't look the greatest, but he is. He is. It was so exciting, it was bloody exciting because we felt just so wretched, you know. And so it was all that much more sweet. 'This footage shows Lincoln finally reaching Base Camp. After two months on Everest, the expedition is over. 22 years on, Lincoln Hall has achieved his dream. But his greatest achievement was not reaching the summit but getting down alive.

His first priority is to find the Sherpas who helped save his life.' I just wanted to thank them so much for what they had done because they really had risked their lives for me. If Pemba or any of the other Sherpas had died and I survived, it would be the most dreadful outcome possible. It would just be the worst thing I can think of. Pemba was the only Sherpa that I was able to see as soon as I got down. He just kept telling me, "Don't worry, you're alive. Don't worry, it's OK." And, er... And I think they were just so happy that what they had done had saved my life. 'With the trophy of climbing Everest so highly prized,

the 2006 season of death is unlikely to be the last. Lincoln Hall's return from the dead on Everest is a miracle. He should have frozen to death, He should have died from cerebral edema, but he didn't. His survival still eludes explanation by medical science. And it's something he's still coming to terms with.' One thing that's helped to deal with that is the Tibetan Buddhist interpretation of the nature of death, which is that consciousness leaves the body, you know, in different stages, and there's eight of those stages. And it's basically a shutting down, a bit like you do when you get out of a helicopter - you turn this off, you turn that off and the whirring starts to go quieter and quieter. Well, I went through two of those levels, I can tick two of those boxes in terms of consciousness leaving me. Now the big question is - what caused the reverse? And I just don't know. Closed captions by CSI

This program is not subtitled

CC

Good evening, World Youth Day

has kicked off about the

largest Catholic mass seep in

Australia. Sydney was

virtually taken over by the

pilgrims today, they poured in,

sippinging and dancing for the

official start of the

celebrations. Today and for

the next five days Sydney is at

the centre of the Catholic

world. Catholic pilgrims have

come from 170 countries.

Korean. (Foreign speaking).

And Australian - g'day, and

have a great time down under.

The city's wharfs were

transformed into a huge outdoor

church, 26 cardinals, 400

bishops, up to 4,000 prooests

and tens of thousands of young

pilgrims celebrated mass on

Sydney Harbour. A tip for

young followers. To the young

ones I give a gentle reminder

that in your enthusiasm and

excitement that you don't

forget to listen and to pray.

That'll be the order of the

day until Sunday when the Pope

says mass before an even bigger

crowd, an expected half a

million. And there was joy to

for people opposed to the

Catholic Church, a court has

ruled they are allowed to annoy

Catholic pilgrims, the NSW

Government brought in the law

to stop people handing out

condoms and wearing cheeky

T-shirts that might offend.

The Federal Court said that had

the potential to hinder free

speech. The body of an

Australian soldier killed in

Afghanistan has arrived back in

Brisbane. SAS sig installer

Sean McCarthy died last week in

a roadside bomb attack, the

sixth Australian to die in the

country, his colleagues stood

silently as the plane touched

down at Amberley. The

25-year-old was based in Perth

but grew up on the Gold Coast.

Westpac lifts interest rates,

standard variable home loan

rate increasing to 9.1% from

Thursday, the hike coming despite the Reserve Bank

leaving interest rates on hold.

A former Australian Sydney Federal Police officer rested

in a child pornography sting

has been sent to jail. Michael

Edward Hatch had nearly 30

images stored on his home

computer. Today in the ACT

Magistrates Court Hatch was

sentenced to 14 months in jail,

with good behaviour he'll be

out in five month, his home was

raided in March as part of

Operation Centurion. Tomorrow's forecast:

More news in 'Lateline' at

10:30.

CC Hello, and welcome to Foreign Correspondent. I'm Mark Corcoran.

Tonight - the poor little rich country. Tell me, how rich East Timor is? Right now, we have about $3 billion in our fund. There's plenty of money but no-one to spend it. We shouldn't under-estimate that task, it's a big task. And a boyhood dream fulfilled - keeping Europe's last commuter steam train on the rails.

For all you trainspotters out there, stay with us, you won't be disappointed. But first to East Timor. We know that one of the world's newest and smallest nartions is still struggling with with civil and political unrest. But what may surprise you is just wealthy East Timor is becoming. But spending oil revenue wisely is harder than you think. So hard that they've enlisted a former Australian politician to help reform the government. As Josephine Cafagna reports.