An Irish climber has died during his descent of Mount Everest in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Kevin Hynes, 56, passed away in his tent after he had turned back before reaching the summit.
Hynes was attempting to reach the summit of the world’s tallest peak with a UK-based climbing group called 360 Expeditions but turned back after feeling unwell. The Galway-born climber then passed away while resting in his tent.
Hynes, who had been living in London for the past 27 years, is survived by his wife Bernadette, his son James and his daughter Erin.
In a statement, 360 Expeditions said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we have to confirm that one of our Everest team has passed away.
"Kevin was one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team, and had previously summited Everest South and Lhotse.”
Hynes had previously summitted Everest in April 2018 and his family says they devastated by his death and appreciate the kind words and sympathy they have received following his loss.
News of Hynes’ death came just hours before the search for another Irish climber on Mount Everest was called off.
Seamus Lawless had reached the summit last Thursday but slipped during his descent on the same day.
Search teams had been combing the area since Lawless’ disappearance, but the search has now been called off due to difficult weather conditions.
The 39-year old lecturer at Trinity College fell at an area called the Balcony, near Everest’s summit. At an altitude of 8,300 meters, search and rescue was always going to be at a disadvantage, but adverse weather conditions made the search virtually impossible.
A GoFundMe campaign had been set up by his family, raising €260,000 in just six days and his family released a statement thanking the public for their generosity.
“We, the Lawless family would like to extend their gratitude for the huge outpouring of support we have received since Shay went missing on Mount Everest last week and to all who donated towards the search operation.
“In just six days, over €267,000 [$300,000] was donated by more than 7,300 people. Your generosity has been overwhelming and your messages of support mean so much to us.
“Unfortunately it was not successful. While the experienced search team has made every effort to locate Shay, the extremes of operating at high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult and based on expert advice we have decided to call of the search rather than risk endangering anyone’s life in the treacherous conditions,” the statement continued.
Three other climbers have also died on the Everest slopes this week. Two Indian climbers and an American died of exhaustion during their descent of the world’s largest mountain, according to Nepali officials.
The officials said that the presence of over 120 climbers on the mountain made for congestion, which caused people to become caught up in crowds. This, in turn, caused exhaustion, dehydration, and death, the officials said.