A Dutch man and an Australian woman died of apparent altitude sickness while descending from the summit of Mount Everest in the first deaths this year on the world’s highest mountain.
Eric Arnold, 35, had enough bottled oxygen with him, as well as climbing partners, but he complained of getting weak and died Friday night near South Col before he was able to get to a lower altitude, said Pasang Phurba of the Seven Summit Treks agency in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Just hours after Arnold died, Australian climber Maria Strydom also showed signs of altitude sickness Saturday afternoon before she died, Phurba said.
Both climbers that died were part of the same expedition team. It was still undecided when and if their bodies would be brought down from the high altitude and it would depend on the team and family members, he said.
Strydom was a finance lecturer at Monash University’s business school in Melbourne. The school posted on Facebook that the community was deeply saddened by her death.