13 May 2021

Exhaustion kills two Everest climbers in first deaths of season

9:17 pm on 13 May 2021

A Swiss and an American climber have died on Mount Everest, hiking company officials said today, the first fatalities on the world's highest peak this season.

Unidentified mountaineers walk past the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Everest on May 20, 2011.

Despite the pandemic, crowds are still lining up to summit Everest. Photo: AFP

Abdul Waraich, 41, of Switzerland and American Puwei Liu, 55, died of exhaustion while descending the slopes of the 8,848m mountain on Wednesday local time, said Thaneshwar Guragai, a manager of the Seven Summit Treks company that provided support to the climbers.

"Additional sherpas were sent with supplies and oxygen but unfortunately they could not save them," he told Reuters.

Waraich, who was on his way down after reaching the summit, died near the south summit, according to Chhang Dawa Sherpa, another official of the company.

Liu could not reach the summit of Everest and died on descent near a 7,900m camp at the South Col after suffering snow blindness and exhaustion, Sherpa said in his Instagram post.

More details were not immediately available. Everest has been scaled by more than 6,000 climbers since it was first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

At least 311 people have died on its slopes.

Nepal has issued a record 408 permits to climb Everest in the April-May climbing season after last year's closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

- Reuters

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