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US, Swiss Climbers Die on Everest

US, Swiss Climbers Die on Everest

Thursday, 13 May, 2021 - 05:45
Light illuminates Mount Everest, during sunset in Solukhumbu District also known as the Everest region, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo

Two climbers from the United States and Switzerland have died on Mount Everest, the first fatalities of this year's season, expedition organizers in Nepal said Thursday.


On average around five climbers die every year on the world's highest peak.


But in recent seasons, Everest has seen a surge in the number of climbers, leading to overcrowding that has been blamed for multiple deaths.


"Two climbers passed away on Wednesday," Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP.


Swiss climber Abdul Waraich, 40, died near the summit after reaching the top and suffering exhaustion, said Chhang Dawa Sherpa from the same organization.


"We sent two additional Sherpas with oxygen and foods, unfortunately Sherpas couldn't save him," he said on Instagram.


American Puwei Liu, 55, reached the Hillary Step but was helped back down after he suffered snow blindness and exhaustion, organizers said.


He was able to reach Camp 4, "before he suddenly passed away" late Wednesday, Chhang Dawa Sherpa said.


Eleven people died climbing the world's highest peak in 2019, with four deaths blamed on overcrowding.


On one day, 354 people were lined up to reach the top from Nepal's southern side and Tibet's northern approach.


To ease the crowding Nepal's tourism ministry announced rules capping the number of people who can summit the mountain per window of suitable weather.


Expedition organizers have been told to send teams up the peak strictly in accordance with permit numbers or limit the number of climbers going up at one time.


The coronavirus pandemic wiped out last year's season, but Nepal has eased quarantine rules to attract more climbers despite the difficulties of treating them if they contract the virus.


Nepal has issued 408 climbing permits this season, topping the previous record of 381 in 2019.


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