Officials receive repeated calls of climbers suffering from altitude sickness.
By BRIAN MCBRIDE
May 24, 2016, 11:11 AM
• 2 min read
-- Three climbers have died, and two others are still missing after attempting to climb Mount Everest, officials told ABC News this morning.
The three are Eric Arnold, 35, of the Netherlands; Maria Strydom, 34, of Austria; and Subhash Paul, 43, of India. All of them died of altitude sickness, according to Nepal tourism official Gyanendra Shrestha.
ABC News previously reported that four climbers were killed, but the Sherpa who had been reported to have died on Everest was actually on Mount Lhotse at the time, according to Shrestha. Mount Lhotse abuts Mount Everest.
Shrestha said two other Indian climbers — Paresh Nath, 58, and Goutam Ghosh, 50 – have been missing since Saturday. Paul was part of that group of climbers.
Rescue teams said there have been repeated calls of climbers suffering from altitude sickness, frostbite, falls and injuries.
"The most common cause for death on Everest is the altitude. There's not enough oxygen there," said Dan Stretch, a senior specialist in the operations department at Global Rescue, which has evacuated about 30 people since the 2016 climbing season began last month. "The weather can change very quickly. It can be fine one minute and then force winds and heavy snow the next minute."
The 29,035-foot-high mountain was practically free of climbers the two previous years, after fatal avalanches that canceled expeditions. More than 4,000 climbers have reached the treacherous peak since 1953, when Everest was first scaled by New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
Foreigners from around the world are drawn to Nepal’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient temples and, of course, Mount Everest.
The tourism industry, which brings in more than $3 million from Everest climbing fees alone, is Nepal’s chief source of foreign income and contributed almost 9 percent of its GDP in 2014, according to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council. But the impoverished Himalayan country saw its tourist arrivals drop after deadly twin earthquakes and quake-triggered avalanches last year.
ABC News' Ishwar Rauniyar in Kathmandu, Vivek Raj and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.
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