Two climbers have died at the peak of Mount Everest after getting stuck in a queue during one of the busiest days ever recorded on the mountain.
Donald Lynn Cash and Anjali Kulkarni, both 55, collapsed after suffering from altitude sickness after reaching the summit on Wednesday.
They had both made it to the 29,029-foot (8,848m) peak, in the so-called death zone where there is not enough oxygen for the human body to survive for long.
The pair had been forced to wait in a queue with hundreds of other climbers who had all taken advantage of a clear weather window to make the ascent.
Donald, from Utah, was taking pictures on top of the peak when he collapsed following a 12-hour push from Camp IV.
Sherpas were initially able to perform CPR and get him a short way back down the mountain, but he died a few hours later near the Hillary Step – a near-vertical rock face on the southeast ridge.
The recently retired software salesman was attempting to climb the Seven Summits – the highest peak on each continent – and Everest was his last.
According to mountaineering reporter Alan Arnette, Donald’s body will not be recoverable from the mountain.
Friends of the climber said: ‘His final resting place will probably be exactly where he wanted’.
Anjali Kulkarni, from India, was returning from the summit point when she also fell ill.
According to The Himalayan Times, she and her husband were part of a six-member expedition on the mountain and made it down to Camp IV.
Efforts are being made to recover her body.
Kulkarni’s expedition organiser, Arun Treks, said the delay at the top of Everest caused her death.
Thupden Sherpa said: ‘She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend. She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.’
The picture of the traffic jam was taken by Nirmal Purja, who also reach the summit of Everest on Wednesday as part of his world record attempt to climb all 14 mountains over 8,000ft in the Himalayas in just seven months.
The British veteran – who spent 16 years in the military – is currently trying to beat the current record of seven years, 11 months and 14 days.
If you would like to follow his journey please click here.
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