Four climbers die on Everest in one day – with two caught in ‘traffic jam’ of adventurers at the top of the mountain
- A queue of hundreds of climbers formed near to the peak of the mountain
- Two of four new deaths believed to have happened in high altitude ‘death zone’
- Week’s toll now stands at nine after American adventurer and Indian guide died
Four more mountaineers have perished on Everest after an astonishing photo emerged of a queue of climbers waiting to reach the summit.
An Irish man, a Nepalese guide and two Indian climbers, including a woman, died of exhaustion while descending the world’s highest peak.
Nihal Ashpak Bagwan, 27, from the western Indian city of Pune, had spent 12 hours in the tailback – and the delay contributed to his death, officials said.
Keshab Paudel, of the Peak Promotion hiking agency, which handled the climber’s logistics, said that Mr Bagwan had ‘died of dehydration, exhaustion and tiredness after being caught in the jam of climbers’.
The death of Irish father-of-two Kevin Hynes, who was with a group from climbing company 360 Expeditions, was also announced yesterday.
Hundreds queued for the final stretch of the climb of the world’s tallest peak as the summit season got under way this week
Mr Hynes, 56, from Galway, reached Camp III at 27,000ft where he made the decision to descend, but died in his tent at the mountain’s North Col – an altitude of 23,000ft.
Donald Lynn Cash, 55, collapsed after reaching the summit of Everest. Two accompanying sherpa guides helped him to regain consciousness but he later died on the descent
A spokesman for 360 Expeditions said: ‘Kevin was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse [another Himalayan peak].
His wonderful wife, Bernadette, and two children, Erin and James, are comforted by all the communication that Kevin sent… letting them know that this was probably the most fun he had had on any one of his expeditions.’
Officials named the dead woman as Kalpana Das, 52, from Odisha in India. The name of the Nepalese guide had not been released last night.
Their deaths bring this season’s toll on Everest to nine, including Irish university professor Seamus Lawless, 39, who is missing presumed dead after a fall during his descent earlier this month.
Across all Himalayan peaks a total of 18 climbers have been killed since March. Nepal has issued permits to 379 climbers on Everest in the season, which ends this month. Hiking officials say between five and ten climbers die on 29,029ft Everest in an average climbing year.
The route up the mountain includes several large obstacles including a huge moving glacier near to base camp
As reported in yesterday’s Mail, climber Nirmal Purja, who served in the British Armed Forces for 16 years, captured a remarkable shot of the tailback snaking its way up the final stretches of the mountain, which he said featured about 300 climbers.
The congestion was reportedly caused by the deaths of two climbers who fell ill on descent – American Don Cash and Indian woman Anjali Kulkarni, 54.
Mr Cash, 55, collapsed at the summit and was given CPR by two guides. Pasang Tenje Sherpa, of tour agency Pioneer Adventure – which provided the guides, said: ‘After that he woke up.
‘Then near Hillary Step [a rocky outcrop near the summit] he fell down again in the same manner, which means he got high altitude sickness.’
How does Everest kill people?
‘Altitude sickness’ refers to the group of potential dangers faced by high altitudes, and is also known as ‘mountain sickness’.
It is caused by gaining altitude too rapidly, which doesn’t allow the body enough time to adjust to reduced oxygen and changes in air pressure, and causes hypobaric hypoxia (a lack of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body).
In the so-called death zone on Everest, above 28,000ft, there is not enough oxygen for a human body to survive for long. Climbers who get stuck above 28,000ft are certain to die.
In severe cases, fluid builds up within the lungs, brain or both.
Symptoms of the illness include: headaches, lethargy, a lack of coordination, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and insomnia.
(Source: Better Health Victoria)
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