Austrian, Indian climbers die on Mt Everest as death toll reaches 16

Kathmandu , May 24th 2019

At least two more climbers died above the high camp of Mt Everest in the last 24 hours, bringing death toll to 16 on different mountains above 8,000 m in the spring climbing season, the expedition organisers said.

Babu Sherpa Managing Director at Peak Promotion Pvt Ltd, said that Nihal Bagwan from Maharashtra, India breathed his last at Camp IV on Mt Everest on Nepal side after he was rescued by a group of Sherpa climbers from the balcony area. “The 27-year-old climber died at Camp IV after he fell ill near balcony area while returning from the summit of Mt Everest,” Sherpa said. Bagwan was the leader of a two-member expedition, he added.

With the latest fatalities on Mt Everest, the deaths take the toll on different mountains above 8,000 m to 16 in the spring climbing season, according to expedition officials. “At least eight Indian climbers among 16 persons were killed on different mountains,” the officials added.

Indian climber Kalpana Das, 49, who was a member of the ‘Three Women Expedition’ breathed her last near the balcony area while descending from the summit point on Mt Everest yesterday, Gyanendra Shrestha, a liaison officer at the Everest base camp said, adding that Anjali S Kulkarni, 54, from Mumbai, India breathed her last above Camp IV on Wednesday night. Ravi Thakar from India breathed his last at Camp IV while returning from the Everest summit last week.

Indian climbers – Biplab Baidya, 48, and Kuntal Karar, 46, from West Bengal, India – breathed their last above Camp IV on Mt Kanchenjunga after they were unable to continue their descent from near the summit partly due to altitude ailments, hypothermia and snow blindness on May 16. Indian army team member Narayan Singh and Dipankar Ghos from Kolkata, India died while returning from the summit of Mt Makalu last week, according to the Department of Tourism.

According to the expedition organisers, Donald Lynn Cash from Utah, US, breathed his last a few metres below the balcony area while returning from the summit point on Mt Everest while Sean Lawless, 39, an assistant professor in artificial intelligence at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, had gone missing from the Everest death zone for over a week.
Renowned Peruvian climber Richard Hidalgo was found dead on Mt Makalu two weeks ago, an official at the DoT said, adding that alpinist odrigo Vivanco from Chile, who attempted to climb Mt Kanchenjunga without Sherpa guide, went missing above Camp IV since May 16.
Bulgarian climber Evan Yuriev Tomov, who scaled Mt Lhotse without using oxygen and Sherpa support, died while descending the mountain on May 17 while Malaysian climber Wui Kin Chin breathed his last in Singapore after he was exposed to sub-zero temperature for nearly two days in the death zone on Mt Annapurna in the last month. Phujung Bhote Sherpa of Makalu, Sankhuwasabha slipped into crevasse and plunged to his death near Camp II of Mt Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain in Tibet, on April 29, officials added.

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