Australian climber dies on Everest in 10th fatality this season

(Photo by Lakpa SHERPA / AFP)

An Australian climber has died on Everest, his expedition organizer said on Sunday, in the 10th fatality on the world’s highest peak this climbing season.

Jason Bernard Kennison, 40, who reportedly survived a bad car crash in 2006, died after becoming unwell on Friday, Asian Trekking said.

After becoming “unresponsive” at the summit, he was brought down to the Balcony area below the peak, Asian Trekking chief Dawa Steven Sherpa told AFP.

“Since the oxygen cylinders that they had with them were running out, they decided to descend to Camp 4 hoping to climb back again with oxygen cylinders to rescue him,” Sherpa said.

“It was high wind and bad weather that prevented them (from) going back to bring him down. He died in the Balcony area.”

Kennison’s death is the sixth among non-Nepalis while four Sherpas have lost their lives on Everest in this year’s climbing season.

On average, five climbers die every spring climbing season on Everest. But in 2019, 11 people died, with four of the deaths blamed on overcrowding on the mountain.

According to Australian media reports, Kennison spent years learning to walk again after the road accident left him with multiple injuries including to his spinal cord.

Nearly 450 climbers have already climbed Mount Everest this season, according to Nepal’s tourism department.

It has issued 478 permits to foreign climbers this year, with each paying an $11,000 fee.

Since most will need a guide, more than 900 people — a record –- were expected to try to summit during the season, which runs until early June.

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