Indian climber on Everest mission dies, five dead since 11 May

An Indian climber who had fallen sick and was being helped down Mount Everest has died, becoming the fifth to die in recent days while attempting to scale the world's tallest peak, an expedition organiser said Monday.

Subhash Paul reached the 8,849-metre (29,032-foot) summit on Saturday but collapsed while descending the Hillary Step ice wall. He died the following day as he was being helped down the mountain by Sherpa guides, said Wangchu Sherpa of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency in Kathmandu. He was among four Indians who lost contact with operators on Saturday afternoon, said Loben Sherpa of the same agency, which organised their expedition to Mount Everest.

Mount Everest. AP

Mount Everest. AP

Two other members of Paul's team — Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh — have been missing since Saturday. Wangchu Sherpa said it was unlikely they would be able to survive Everest's hostile conditions. Sunita Hazra, the fourth member of the team had fallen sick. She was resting at a camp at a safer altitude after being brought down. "We have sent a helicopter to bring Sunita back. We still don't have any news on the missing two," Loben Sherpa said.

More than 350 climbers including 140 foreigners have successfully scaled the world's highest peak this season after two consecutive years of deadly disasters. But four other mountaineers have died in the Himalayas in the past few days.

A Dutch man, identified by BBC as Eric Ary Arnold died Friday.

An Australian woman, identified by ABC News as Dr Maria Strydom, died hours later after suffering from altitude sickness on Everest. ABC News also reported that her husband, Rob Gropel, was with her when she died. He is safe and will soon make his way to Kathmandu.

Phurba Sherpa, a 25-year-old Nepali guide perished Thursday, reported CNN. He slipped and fell 2,000 metres down Mount Lhotse, the world's fourth-highest peak.

Another Indian climber died after falling ill while descending from Mount Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas.

Dozens of other climbers have developed frostbite or become sick near the summit in recent days. Guides and helicopter pilots have rescued more than 30 climbers following complaints of altitude sickness and frostbite, tourism official Gyanendra Shrestha said.

Favourable weather has allowed nearly 400 climbers to reach the summit from Nepal since 11 May, but the altitude, weather and harsh terrain can cause problems at any time.

Mountaineering is a major revenue-earner for the impoverished Himalayan nation of Nepal and trekking companies were anxious to see foreign climbers return to Everest after two years of disasters. Last year's earthquake, which killed almost 9,000 people, threatened the future of its climbing and trekking industry. Climbing attempts were largely abandoned in 2014 after an avalanche above the base camp killed 16 Sherpa guides.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: May 23, 2016 03:48 pm | Updated Date: May 23, 2016 03:48 pm