A fundraising campaign has been set-up for a missing Irish father-of-one on Mount Everest, as the search for him, has now turned into a recovery mission for his body.
Séamus Lawless from Bray, Co Wicklow was fulfilling a life-long dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest, which stands at 8,848 metres, before he reached his 40th birthday in July this year.
The assistant professor in artificial intelligence at Trinity’s School of Computer Science and Statistics, had successfully reached the summit on Thursday along with several others in his group of eight led by world-renowned Co Down adventurer Noel Hanna – just hours before falling up to 500 metres.
The decision was taken by rescuers and those on the Himalayan mountain range to stop the search for Mr Lawless, due to high winds of 55km and frigid temperatures of -27C with a wind chill, making it feel more like -43C.
One of Ireland’s leading climbers, who scaled Everest twice, and director of Pat Falvey Adventures confirmed that, “The search for Mr Lawless which has been stopped is now a recovery mission and has been confirmed as that. I was informed of this by officials in the Capital of Nepal, Kathmandu.
“Weather temperatures remain frigid at -28C with winds again making it feel as if it is -46C which obviously raised safety concerns.”
The guide company, Seven Summit Treks, involved in the climb also confirmed they are now involved in a recovery mission.
Mr Lawless, who was about to become a father for the second time, reportedly fell from an altitude of 8,300m in an area known as the balcony.
A fundraising campaign has been launched on behalf of Mr Lawless’ wife Pam and their four-year-old daughter Emma, on the crowd funding site, Gofundme.com, to enable the recovery operation when it is given the go-ahead by Nepalese officials.
The family has said that they have been forced to look for donations as the insurance company which provided a policy for Mr Lawless are currently not providing assistance with the search and rescue.
A statement on the page, Search for Seamus Lawless on Mt Everest, which hopes to raise €750,000 said: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that the Lawless family have had to set up this GoFundMe page to ask for donations.
“Within hours of the campaign being launched thousands of euro has been donated by the public.
“The insurance company that had provided a policy for Séamus (Shay) are currently not providing assistance with the search and rescue.
“Shay achieved his lifelong dream on the morning of Thursday 15th May, when he reached the peak of Mount Everest.
“Tragically, on his descent, Shay fell and has been missing since.
“With the weekend upon us, we, the family of Shay, have been left with no other option but to ask for assistance in raising funds to gather a team of expert Sherpas to locate and bring our beloved Shay home to Ireland.
“Time is of the essence in the search mission and the costs of running this mission are substantial.
The statement added: “At this moment in time we have little to no information about what happened on Thursday 16th May, nor do we know the current location of Shay.
“It is our priority to locate him and bring him home and we appreciate all the support that can be offered as we face this hugely challenging situation.”
Mr Lawless had attempted the mammoth climb to raise up to €25,000 for Barretstown, a charity dedicated to seriously ill children and their families.
Mr Lawless flew to Nepal in April, to prepare for the climb and to allow his body to acclimatise to the thinner air, in a bid to avoid altitude sickness which can be life threatening.
The remaining group which includes Irishwoman Jennifer Shirley, had been forced to stay at Camp Four at 7,900m due to the weather.
They suffered another tragedy on Friday morning when an Indian climber, Ravi Thakar, was found dead in his tent.
Severe altitude sickness is being blamed for his death.
Meanwhile, according to the Himalayan Times, there has been a fourth death of a Bulgarian climber in the Himalayas in as many days.
It is reported that an alpinist from Bulgaria died at Camp IV on Mt Lhotse while descending from the summit of the world’s fourth highest mountain on Friday afternoon.
According to the base camp officials, Ivan Yuriev Tomov, who scaled Mt Lhotse without using oxygen and Sherpa support on Thursday morning, died at Camp IV from severe altitude sickness.
Séamus’ colleagues at Trinity College will hold a vigil for him this evening in the Trinity Long Room Hub from 8.15pm.
You can find the GoFundMe for Séamus Lawless here.
Source: Full Feed