The family of an Irish academic missing since he fell on Mount Everest have launched a fundraising campaign to help finance search efforts.
Seamus “Shay” Lawless, from Bray, Co Wicklow, fell as he descended the peak on Thursday having just achieved a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit.
His relatives, who said Mr Lawless’s insurers were not assisting in the search efforts, have asked for the public’s help to raise the money needed to gather a team of Sherpas to find him.
Irish people started gofundme page help search for missing @tcddublin professor Seamus Lawless on #Everest. They say the insurance company that provided policy for Séamus are not providing assistance w/ SAR. Please donate & RT as much as you can. Namaste! https://t.co/ge6xFlFjXo
— Everest Today (@EverestToday) May 18, 2019
A GoFundMe page set up by the family on Friday night with a target of raising 750,000 euro (£660,000) had passed 100,000 euro (£88,000) within 15 hours.
Funds were pouring in on Saturday as colleagues at Trinity College Dublin organised a vigil for Mr Lawless, an assistant professor at the university’s School of Computer Science.
A family statement on the fundraising page said: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that the Lawless family have had to set up this GoFundMe page to ask for donations.
“The insurance company that had provided a policy for Seamus (Shay) are currently not providing assistance with the search and rescue.”
The family said he had achieved a “lifelong dream” when he reached the peak of Mount Everest on Thursday morning.
An assistant professor in artificial intelligence at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at @tcddublin, has gone missing near balcony area of Mt #Everest when he was descending from the summit point this afternoon. https://t.co/wM2ygU1mgk
— Everest Today (@EverestToday) May 16, 2019
“Tragically, on his descent, Shay fell and has been missing since,” they said.
“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.
“He set out on this incredible journey to summit Mount Everest not only to challenge himself but to raise vital funds on behalf of Barretstown, a charity that provides respite and recreation to children with serious illnesses.
“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.”