High altitude sickness coupled with weakness claimed the lives of two foreign climbers on Mount Everest, the first deaths this season on the world’s tallest mountain, expedition organisers said on Saturday.
Eric Arnold, 36, from Rotterdam in Netherlands died on Friday night, while Maria Elizabeth Strydom, 34, a lecturer with Monash Business School in Australia, succumbed on Saturday. Both climbers were on their way down from the 8,848-metre peak, after successfully reaching the summit on Friday from the Nepal side, when they complained of uneasiness and collapsed.
“Arnold died at Camp IV, located at 8,000 metres, while Strydom died further down. Both were suffering from high altitude sickness and weakness,” Pasang Phurba Sherpa of Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks told HT.
The climbers had adequate supply of oxygen and there were several Sherpa guides from the expedition team with them. High altitude sickness happens due to scarcity of natural oxygen at heights over 2,500 metres.
Their bodies are still on the mountain and efforts are underway to bring them down.
The deaths, have cast a pall of gloom among climbers and guides, who were witnessing a busy season on the peak after two disastrous years.
An avalanche on the mountain in 2014, 16 Sherpa guides had died in . Last year, 19 climbers were killed in an avalanche triggered by the April 25 earthquake, bringing an end to all expeditions.