First fatalities on Everest this year; American and Swiss dead

First fatalities on Everest this year; American and Swiss dead First fatalities on Everest this year; American and Swiss dead

An American and a Swiss climber have died of "exhaustion" on Mount Everest in the first deaths of the season.

Puwei Li, from the US and Abdul Waraich, from Switzerland, passed away on Wednesday whole climbing down on the world's highest peak.

"Additional sherpas were sent with supplies and oxygen but unfortunately they could not save them," said Thaneshwar Guragai, a manager of the expedition organizer, Seven Summit Treks in Nepal.

Abdul Waraich, 41, died on the south slope after reaching the summit. Puwei Li, 55, collapsed at Hillary Step, the highest camp on the mountain, just below the summit. Li suffered snow blindness and exhaustion.

Organizers have said that the two bodies will be brought down when the weather clears up. Getting bodies back down from Everest is a costly and time consuming process, requiring the help of multiple sherpas.

Everest has been scaled by more than 6,000 climbers since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. At least 311 people have died on its slopes.

On average, around five climbers die every year on the world's highest peak.

But in recent seasons, Everest has seen a surge in the number of climbers, leading to overcrowding that has been blamed for multiple deaths.

Eleven people died climbing the world's highest peak in 2019, with four deaths blamed on overcrowding.

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