First Everest death of 2019, Irishman missing

17 May 2019 - 11:39 By AFP
Mount Everest as seen from the hills of Syangboche in Nepal. File photo.
Mount Everest as seen from the hills of Syangboche in Nepal. File photo.
Image: REUTERS

Mount Everest claimed Friday its first fatality of the main spring climbing season, an Indian man, while an Irish mountaineer was also missing, expedition organisers in Nepal said.

An Indian soldier meanwhile died on nearby Mount Makalu, two days after two other Indians died on Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, with one Chilean missing.

Ravi Thakar, 28, was found dead inside his tent at Everest Camp 4 at 7,920 metres (26,000 feet) on Friday morning as his team was resting after a successful summit.

"Efforts are underway to bring his body back," Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP.

A day earlier his team lost an Irish member, Seamus Lawless, 39, when he slipped from below the "balcony" area at around 8,300 metres.

Sherpa said that guides have intensified their search for him.

The two were part of an eight-member team that included Saray Khumalo, who became the first black African woman to summit Everest.

The Indian soldier, 35, from the Indian Army's expedition to Mount Makalu died at around 8,200 metres as he was returning from the summit.

The team was in the news last month after tweeting a picture of "yeti" footprints, sparking ridicule and jokes online.

Another Indian climber also went missing on Mount Makalu on Thursday night as the team the 52-year-old was with was descending.

"The weather was not good and he probably lagged behind. A search team this morning could not find him, but we will keep looking," Sherpa said.

Many Himalayan mountains -- including Everest -- are at peak climbing season, with the window of good weather between late April and the end of May.

The death toll is already mounting, however.

In addition to two deaths on Kanchenjunga, last week Peruvian climber Richard Hidalgo died on Makalu, the world's fifth-highest summit.

A Malaysian died in April after being rescued from Annapurna, where he spent two nights in the open near the summit.

Hundreds of climbers flock each year to Nepal -- home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks -- creating a lucrative mountaineering industry for the impoverished country.

Last year five people died on Everest alone. 

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