Developing

Three Climbers Die On Mount Everest Descent

Three climbers returning from the summit of Mount Everest have died and two more are missing.

Nepalese mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha said Eberhard Schaaf, 61, from Germany, and Song Won-Bin, 44, from Korea, died on Saturday.

A Nepali-born Canadian woman named as Shriya Shah, 33, was also killed on Sunday, according to Tilak Pandey, a tourism ministry official.

All three were descending from the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) summit when they died.

A Chinese climber and a Nepali mountain guide are also still missing on the mountain.

Mr Shrestha said the weather was favourable on Friday and Saturday morning, but that a wind storm swept the mountain later on Saturday.

"There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2.30pm which is quite dangerous," he said from base camp.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, of the Kathmandu-based Asian Trekking, said Song Won-Bin died at The Balcony, an area near the peak.

The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency said she had collapsed due to altitude sickness and fallen off a cliff, quoting a diplomat at the South Korean embassy in Kathmandu.

It said the climbers were part of a team of old classmates from the same high school in the central city of Daejeon.

About a dozen members flew to Nepal at the end of March to mark their school's 50th anniversary by climbing the peak. They were due to return home later this month.

Eberhard Schaaf, a doctor, was believed to have suffered high altitude cerebral edema.

"Most of these deaths occur due to high altitude sickness," Mr Sherpa said. "Climbers spend their energy on the ascent and they are exhausted and fatigued on the descent."

Ms Shah, who was born in Kathmandu and grew up in Mumbai, India before moving to Toronto, described herself as "an entrepreneur, political activist, social worker, and above all, a daring lady" on her website.

Speaking of her Everest expedition, she wrote: "This is my dream and passion, and want to do something for my country. Nothing is impossible in this world."

The latest deaths bring the current season's death toll for the world's highest peak to five.

Two Nepali Sherpa climbers died on Everest in April, one falling into a crevasse at 5,900 metres and the other succumbing to altitude sickness at base camp.

Nearly 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest since 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first scaled it.

More than 200 people have died on the slopes of the giant peak.