May 21, 2023: An Australian climber lost his life while descending from the summit point of Mt Everest. The expedition organizer, Dawa Steven Sherpa, has confirmed that 40-year-old Jason Bernard Kennison, a mining engineer from Australia died.
Accompanied by two experienced Sherpa guides, Jason began displaying unusual behavior near the South Summit. Concerned for his well-being, the Sherpa guides led him to the Balcony area for a temporary halt. However, due to strong winds, their supply of oxygen was depleted, and they were unable to retrieve additional bottles from Camp IV.
Despite the Sherpa guides’ efforts, Jason refused to continue with them near the Balcony area, Tragically, he breathed his last there. His remains are currently located in the Balcony area, where they will be attended to by the appropriate authorities.
Jason’s untimely passing is particularly poignant due to his inspiring journey of recovery. Following a severe road accident in 2006, which left him with multiple broken bones and a spinal cord injury, Jason underwent years of rehabilitation to regain his mobility. His goal was to raise funds for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, providing support to individuals facing similar challenges.
The recent spring climbing season on Mt Everest has been marred by tragedy, with a total of ten recorded deaths. Additionally, two climbers are still missing in the high camps. Malaysian climber Hawari Bin Hashim, who is deaf and mute, has been unaccounted for since his arrival at Camp IV from the summit on May 18. Similarly, Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya, an Indian Singaporean climber, went missing at 8,500 meters and is suspected to have fallen into the Tibetan side.
Sadly, other climbers have also lost their lives during this season. Malaysian police officer Ag Askandar Bin Ampuan Yaacub passed away above South Col on May 19. Xuebin Chen, aged 52, met his end near the South Summit on May 18 while making his final push toward the summit. Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus, an Indian woman climber, fell ill at the Mt Everest base camp and tragically passed away while receiving treatment at a hospital in Lukla on May 18 at 5:13 am. Victor Brinza from Moldova lost his life after falling ill at South Col on May 17. Furthermore, Phurba Sherpa from Sankhuwasabha breathed his last near the Yellow Band above Camp III on May 16. Dr. Jonathan Sugarman, a 69-year-old American doctor, tragically died during his acclimatization rotation at Camp II on May 1.
The mountaineering community mourns the loss of these brave climbers who dared to conquer the world’s tallest peak. Their courage and determination will forever be remembered. Let us hope that future expeditions will prioritize safety and take necessary precautions to prevent such tragic incidents from occurring again.
In memory of all those who have lost their lives on Mt Everest this season, may their souls rest in eternal peace.