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Search for Trinity College professor ended as second Irishman dies climbing Everest

Séamus Lawless and Kevin Hynes have both died on the mountain.

Irish mountaineer Séamus Lawless.
Irish mountaineer Séamus Lawless.
Image: GoFundMe

Updated May 24th 2019, 6:00 PM

THE FAMILY OF Séamus Lawless have called off the search for the missing Everest climber. 

The news comes hours after it was confirmed that a second Irishman, Kevin Hynes, also died climbing the world’s highest peak. 

Lawless, a Trinity College professor, went missing last Thursday while at an altitude of 8,300m. A fundraising page set up to help fund the search for him has surpassed €260,000.  

In an update published on the fundraising page this afternoon, the Lawless family said the extreme risks in conducting searches at that altitude have meant the search must be ceased.

“We, the Lawless family would like to extend their gratitude for the huge outpouring of support we have received since Shay went missing on Mount Everest last week and to all who donated towards the search operation. In just six days, over €267,000 was donated by more than 7,300 people. Your generosity has been overwhelming and your messages of support mean so much to us. The GoFundMe campaign was instrumental in helping us fund an experienced search team for Shay.”

Unfortunately it was not successful. While the experienced search team has made every effort to locate Shay, the extremes of operating at high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult and based on expert advice we have decided to call off the search rather than risk endangering anyone’s life in the treacherous conditions. 

“This search operation will be paid for out of this fund and the final cost is still not clear. When it is, it is our wish that any amount above the cost of the search will be accordingly refunded to donors and we will work with the GoFundMe team on that.”

 

Second Irish tragedy 

The tragic development comes hours after it was confirmed that a second Irishman climbing Everest died this morning.  

Kevin Hynes (56) from Galway was climbing Everest for the second time and was described by climbing company 360 Expeditions as “one of the strongest and most experienced climbers on our team”.

“On the 22 May, Kevin reached Camp 3 at 8,300m. On the 23 May, while our summit climbers were heading higher, Kevin started his descent. He was accompanied by experienced Sherpa, Dawa Sangee, who himself has summited Everest south twice, Everest North and Makalu twice,” the group said in a post on Facebook

Kevin passed away in his tent at the North Col at 7,000m in the early hours of this morning (Nepali time) of the 24 May. His wonderful wife, Bernadette and two children, Erin and James are comforted by all the communication that Kevin sent out from his expedition, letting them know that, “this was proving the most fun he had had on any one of his expeditions and the team was amazing and that he was loving being with Rolfe”.

The Irish Seven Summits adventure group has also shared its sympathies with his family:

“It is with great sadness that we learn today of the death of Galway native Kevin Hynes on Everest. Kev (who lived and worked in UK) was on his second expedition to Everest having reached the summit via the Nepal side last year and was attempting the North side this time. His expedition company reported the following earlier today.”

There have been two other fatalities on the mountain in recent days. 

American and Indian climbers also died, their expedition organisers said, on one of the busiest-ever days on the the 8,848-metre peak.

Donald Lynn Cash (55) collapsed at the summit yesterday as he was taking photographs, while Anjali Kulkarni, also 55, died while descending after reaching the top.

- With reporting from © – AFP 2019

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Rónán Duffy

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