Four climbers die while returning from the summit of Mount Everest, with one other member of the group still missing, officials and tour agents confirmed Monday. Everest has a long history of deaths and a dark side.
The four climbers were from Germany, South Korea, China and Canada.
The 61-year-old German and the South Korean aged 44 died on the south face of the world’s highest peak on Sunday, Ang Tshering Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Asian Trekking adventure agency said.
“We are sad to announce the death of Eberhard Schaaf, of Germany, at the south side of the summit of Mount Everest,” Sherpa told AFP.
“The medical staff at the Himalayan Rescue Association believe the cause of death to be altitude sickness.” Sherpa said South Korean Song Won-Bin, who had been missing since Saturday, died at “The Balcony”, an area near the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-feet) peak.
The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency said Song had collapsed due to altitude sickness and fallen off a cliff, quoting a diplomat at the South Korean embassy in Kathmandu.
It said the climbers were part of a team of old classmates from the same high school in the central city of Daejeon.
About a dozen members flew to Nepal at the end of March to mark their school’s 50th anniversary by climbing the peak. They were due to return home later this month.
Tilak Pandey, a tourism ministry official at Everest base camp, told AFP separately that a 33-year-old Nepali-born Canadian woman named Shriya Shah had also been killed on Sunday.
Shah was born in Kathmandu and grew up in Mumbai, India, according to her website. She lived in Toronto and described herself as “an entrepreneur, political activist, social worker, and above all, a daring lady”.
Speaking of her Everest expedition, she wrote: “This is my dream and passion, and want to do something for my country. Nothing is impossible in this world.”Another ministry official, Deependra Paudel, told AFP 55-year-old Chinese climber Ha Wenyi had also been found dead, at 8,600 metres.
“Most of these deaths occur due to high altitude sickness,” said Sherpa, adding that a Nepali mountain guide was also missing.