Tragically, a 59-year-old Indian climber, who aspired to become the first woman from Asia on a pacemaker to successfully climb Mt Everest and set a new world record, passed away on Thursday. She fell ill at the base camp of the highest peak in the world, located in Nepal.
Suzanne Leopoldina Jesus was admitted to a hospital in the Lukla town of Solukhumbu district after facing difficulties during the acclimatisation exercises at the Mt Everest base camp, and died on Thursday, Yuvaraj Khatiwada, Director at the Tourism Department of Nepal, said.
Suzanne, fitted with a pacemaker, was asked to abandon the attempt to summit Mt Everest after failing to maintain a normal speed during the acclimatisation exercise on the base camp and showing difficulty climbing, Khatiwada said.
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Suzanne adamantly refused the advice, asserting that she had to climb the 8,848.86 metres-high peak as she had already paid the fee for acquiring permission to climb the mountain.
Suzanne, who had climbed up to 5,800 metres, a little above the Mt Everest base camp, was forcibly airlifted on Wednesday evening to Lukla town and was admitted to a hospital for treatment, said Dendi Sherpa, Chairman of Glacier Himalayan Trek, the expedition organiser.
“We had to take her back to Lukla forcibly,” Sherpa said, adding that they hired a helicopter to evacuate her.
We had told her to abandon the climb five days ago, but she was committed to ascending Everest, he said, adding that it was found during the acclimatisation that Suzanne was not qualified for further ascending the mountain.
Sherpa also wrote a letter to the Department of Tourism mentioning that Suzanne was not in a position to climb Mt. Everest as it took her more than 5 hours to reach Crompton Point, above the base camp, which is just 250 metres long.
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Climbers can usually cross the distance in 15 to 20 minutes, but it took Suzanne five hours on the first attempt, six hours on the second attempt and 12 hours on the third attempt to reach the point during the acclimatisation exercise, Sherpa said.
However, she wanted to set a new world record by becoming the first Asian woman to summit Everest with a pacemaker, he said, adding that she was having difficulties in her throat and could not even swallow food easily.
Suzannes body was flown to Kathmandu on Thursday afternoon and taken to Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital at Maharajgunj municipality for postmortem, Sherpa said.
Her family members were informed and were expected to arrive in Kathmandu by Friday evening.
A Chinese climber also died while ascending Mt Everest Thursday morning, taking the death toll on Everest this season to eight.
Earlier, four Sherpa climbers, an American doctor and a Moldovan climber died on Everest.
(With agency inputs)