Climber Killed By Lightning On Kilimanjaro

Climber Killed By Lightning On Kilimanjaro

An Irish climber has been killed after being struck by lightning while scaling Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.

Ian McKeever, 42, from Lough Dan in County Wicklow, died as he led a group up the mountain.

It is understood a number of other climbers with him also needed medical attention.

Mr McKeever was a lecturer and broadcaster who regularly mentored hikers, including groups of Irish schoolchildren, climbing to the 5, 896m (19, 340ft) summit.

The latest expedition team set off to Tanzania from Ireland on December 28 and began its ascent the day before New Year's Eve.

Mr McKeever wrote in online updates that there had been torrential rain but he said spirits remained high among the hikers.

In his final post he wrote: "We pray for drier weather tomorrow - the big day. It's the Lava Tower." The Lava Tower is a landmark on the climb.

Mr McKeever, who was killed in a lightning storm, was known for many adventurous feats, including scaling Mount Everest.

In 2008, he helped his then 10-year-old godson Sean McSharry become the youngest person in Europe to reach the top of Kilimanjaro.

Mr McKeever is the former holder of the record for scaling the seven highest peaks in the world.

Recently he had been attempting, along with his friend and African climbing guide Samuel Kinsonga, to break the record for the fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro as part of an anti-racism charity campaign.

He was the author of two books Give Me Shelter and Give Me Heroes and was working on a third book Give Me 28 Days.

On his Facebook page, a statement said: "It is with deep regret, that we, Ian's family, fiancee Anna and friends, advise of his sudden death on Kilimanjaro ... doing what he loved best."

Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was very saddened to hear of Mr McKeever's death.

"I had come to know him over recent years and I admired him not only for his own achievements and charity work but also for his work with young people in challenging them to achieve their full potential," he said.

"He was extremely passionate about what he did and driven in his belief that everybody can achieve their potential during their lifetime.

"Ian said to me once that there was no place he would rather be than in the mountains.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to his fiancee Anna and his family, friends and fellow adventurers."