Rescuers bring Indian climber’s body from Everest

Kathmandu, May 29

A high-altitude worker who returned from the summit of Mt Everest today claimed that he saw the bodies of two Indian climbers near Camp IV. They had attempted to climb the world’s highest peak on May 21.

Lakpa Sherpa, who accompanied Subhash Pal, a climber from Bankura district in the Indian state of West Bengal to Mt Everest summit, said climbing Sherpas spotted the body of Goutam Ghosh, 51, near south summit point while, Paresh Chandra Nath, 58, succumbed to altitude-related health complications near Camp IV.

Lakpa, along with other rescuers, today arrived in Kathmandu bringing the body of Subhash, 40, who also died near Camp III while descending from the summit on May 22. “They (Paresh and Goutam) were in very bad shape and couldn’t even move up or down from the higher camps near 8,000 metres when we were heading for the final summit push,” he told this daily on the premises of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, where Subhash’s kin were present to receive his body. “While descending from the summit, we found both of them dead near Camp IV,” he added.

According to him, four of them rescued fellow climber, Sunita Hazra, 38, who was with Subhash while descending from Camp IV. “We tried our best to save Subhash but couldn’t,” Sherpa said, adding that he was unable to speak or move after arriving near Camp III. With the stock of bottled oxygen running out, we descended to Camp II in a hurry saving Sunita’s life, he added. Sunita, who was airlifted from Camp II the next day, is now undergoing treatment at Norvic International Hospital.

“It was really challenging to rescue climbers from the higher camps,” Sanu Sherpa, who returned from Camp II after retrieving Subhash’s body, said. Pranav who arrived here on May 25 received his brother’s body in the hospital.

All four Bengal climbers were part of a six-member expedition led by South Korean climber Jinchol Cha and locally managed by Trekking Camp Nepal. “Six Sherpas had stayed there for five days to search and rescue the missing climbers,” Managing Director Wangchu Sherpa said, adding that all of them returned from higher camps after retrieving Subhash’s body.

Though climbers say deaths are not uncommon on Mt Everest, Maritha Strydrom, mother of an Australian mountaineer Marisa, raised a serious concern. “I learnt tonight that Everest climbers like Marisa are on their own, even with the vast amounts of money expedition companies charge. Marisa wasn’t monitored, instantly medicated or swiftly led/taken down when she fell ill. They were virtually on their own, discovering and managing their altitude sickness themselves,” she posted on her Facebook page, adding, “May this help to change the lack of safety and care on Mt Everest.”

Monash business school lecturer Dr Marisa and Dutch climber Eric Arnold died while descending from the ‘death zone’ this season that recorded over 400 successful summits on Mt Everest.