Dutch Everest Climber Dies After Suffering Altitude Sickness On His Way Down From Summit

Mount Everest climber Eric Arnold died after scaling the world’s highest mountain. His death follows the death of an Indian national who fell sick while descending Nepal’s Dhaulagiri peak, CBS News reports. Thirty-five-year-old Arnold was reportedly equipped with enough bottled oxygen, but he complained of being weak and died before he was able to come down to a lower altitude, said Pasang Phurba of the Seven Summit Treks agency in Kathmandu. Arnold’s body is at an elevation of 8,000 meters and Phurba said it will be a couple of days and take several people to bring him down the slopes.

“Mountain guides are working to bring the body back to base camp first before flying back to Kathmandu,” said an official at the Tourism Ministry. Arnold was from the Dutch city of Rotterdam, and the last post made to his Twitter account on Friday said, “Mountain climber Eric Arnold reaches the summit of Mount Everest at the fifth attempt.”

Nepal’s mountaineering community has been hit with disaster the past two climbing seasons. The 2015 earthquake caused an avalanche that killed 19 people at base camp, and the avalanche in 2014 above base camp killed 16 Sherpa guides. Eric’s death, and that of Rajib Bhattacharya, are the first fatalities since expeditions resumed this year, and they come as Queensland teen Alyssa Azar succeeded in her attempt to become the youngest Australian in history to scale Mount Everest.

“We can confirm that Alyssa has successfully summitted Mt. Everest. This has been a goal she has been determined to achieve for several years,” said a statement posted on her Facebook page. “Alyssa has had her share of set backs but has never wavered in her determination. She is still on the mountain, and in good spirits. However the journey is not over for her. The descent off the mountain is equally as challenging, it will be a couple of days before she is back into base camp.”

This is Azar’s third trip to Nepal to take on Everest, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. The avalanche in 2014 and the Nepal earthquake in 2015 prevented her from reaching the summit. Azar’s father, Glenn Azar, said that her achievement had “been many years in the making and a lot of work.”

The spring climbing season began in March and runs through May, and around 330 climbers have successfully scaled Everest this season. Eric Arnold died after reaching the top of the mountain in what was his fifth attempt. He was a survivor of last year’s deadly avalanche, and he successfully stood atop the world’s highest peak on Friday. He died at Camp IV while descending to the lower camps later that night. He reportedly suffered from altitude-related sickness and frostbite on his fingers and eyes.

In 2015, Hollywood tackled the story of the devastating 1996 climbing expedition that left eight people dead in the film Everest. Starring an ensemble cast which featured Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film was adapted from Beck Weathers’ memoir Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest. Since the incident, many of the survivors have refused to continue commenting about the events, others are “writers, public speakers, doctors, consultants, and journalists,” who often speak publicly about the tragedy, and Bustle notes what some of those survivors are up to today.

Meanwhile, three Bengal climbers are reportedly missing after beginning their ascent to Mt. Everest, a police official monitoring the expedition said on Saturday. The climbers went missing on Friday night, a day after Bhattacharya died after successfully climbing Mt. Dhaulagiri, the seventh-highest peak in the world. An operation to recover his body began Saturday morning.

Everest climbers die typically from avalanche, injury from fall, or health problems related to weather conditions on the mountain. Corpses are often left behind when a climber dies en route. Over 300 reported people have died attempting to climb Mount Everest since the first summit in 1953.

[Photo by Tashi Sherpa/AP Images]