Mount Everest claimed three lives over the weekend as an estimated 150 climbers rushed to take advantage of the first favorable weather conditions of the climbing season. Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with the Nepal Mountaineering Department, said the crowded trails caused climbers to leave for the summit in the afternoon hours on Saturday despite being advised to not attempt the climb after 11 a.m.
"There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30 p.m. which is quite dangerous," Shrestha told The Associated Press. "With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at higher altitude. Many of them are believed to be carrying limited amount of oxygen not anticipating the extra time spent.”
The three climbers died on Saturday while returning from the summit. They have been identified as Dr. Eberhard Schaaf of Germany, Shriya Shah of Canada, and Song Won-bin of South Korea. Nepalese authorities believe the trio likely died of acute altitude sickness.
Two other climbers, a Chinese national and a Nepalese guide, are missing. A search and rescue operation is underway.
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