Four die on Mount Everest

Climber recounts descent from death zone
Climber recounts descent from death zone

    JUST WATCHED

    Climber recounts descent from death zone

MUST WATCH

Climber recounts descent from death zone 02:00

Story highlights

  • Odds of surviving a night outside camp are poor, a U.S. expert says
  • At least four people have died coming down from Everest's summit, officials say
  • Adverse weather conditions delayed summiting from the south side, another official says
  • With four deaths, six have been killed this season so far, ministry official says

Four people died while coming down the southern slope of the mountain during the weekend after reaching Mount Everest's 8848-meter (29,028 foot) summit, officials said.

The victims have been identified as Ebehard Schaaf, 61, a German medical doctor; Sriya Shah, 33, a Nepali-born Canadian woman; Song Wondin, a 44-year-old man from South Korea; and Wen Ryi Ha, 55, of China, according to officials with the tourism and civil aviation ministry and at the base of the mountain.

"Climbers climbing down the mountain have said that they have seen the body of the Korean," said Tilakram Pandey, of the tourism and civil aviation ministry, by phone from the base of the mountain.

The Korean had earlier been reported missing. There were reports of a Nepali missing as well, but those reports could not be verified, Pandey said.

Overheard on CNN.com: Is Mount Everest like 'a morgue'?

David Breashears, a climber and filmmaker who has reached Everest's peak five times, told CNN that anyone still unaccounted for after nightfall has poor prospects for survival.

"You will surely perish at night at those elevations and those temperatures without the safety of a tent and the protection of a warm sleeping bag," Breashears told CNN.

The cause of the German's death has been diagnosed as high-altitude cerebral edema, according to Ang Tshering Sherpa of Asian Trekking, which organized his expedition.

Did bad weather cause climbers' deaths?
Did bad weather cause climbers' deaths?

    JUST WATCHED

    Did bad weather cause climbers' deaths?

MUST WATCH

Did bad weather cause climbers' deaths? 01:39
PLAY VIDEO
Conquering the world's highest peak
Conquering the world's highest peak

    JUST WATCHED

    Conquering the world's highest peak

MUST WATCH

Conquering the world's highest peak 01:55
PLAY VIDEO

What is altitude sickness?

Mountaineers often expend all their energy while ascending the mountain and do not think about energy needed to come down. "As a result, they become weak and suffer from altitude sickness," Sherpa said.

And Breashears said a "tremendous number" of climbers attempt to scale Everest at this time of year, sometimes leading to delays atop the mountain.

"It's a period when all the camps are in, all the supplies are in, the fixed ropes are ready and they're waiting for an abatement of the jet stream winds," he said.

Saturday was also windier than usual. On Saturday a 73-year-old Japanese woman, Tamae Watanabe, had climbed the mountain from the northern side on the Tibet-China border to become the oldest woman on the summit.

Bal Krishna Ghimire, a spokesman of the tourism and civil aviation ministry, said that mountaineers began summiting the mountain from the south side this spring season only since Saturday, about 10 days later than usual, because of adverse weather conditions.

The spring mountaineering season, which lasts from March 1 to May 31, is the most popular season to climb the Himalayan peaks in Nepal.

With these four deaths the number of people killed on Everest this year has reached six, ministry official Dipendra Poudel said. Two Nepali sherpas died on the mountain earlier this month.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.