First a Malaysian, now a Singaporean climber also missing after reaching summit of Mount Everest


Singaporean climber Shrinivas Sainis told his wife on May 19 that he had come down with High Altitude Cerebral Edema. - Reuters

SINGAPORE, May 20 (The Straits Times/ANN): Singaporean climber Shrinivas Sainis last sent a text message to his wife on Friday saying he had reached the summit of Everest, but he was not likely to make it back down.

Shrinivas, 39, who is an executive director at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, left for Mount Everest on April 1. He was due to return home on June 4.

Speaking to The Straits Times, his wife Sushma Soma said she last heard from him at 3.30pm on Friday. There has been no word from him since.

On Saturday (May 20), local Malaysian news outlets reported that Malaysia Everest 2023 climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim has gone missing while descending from Camp 4 after conquering the world's highest peak.

This was confirmed by expedition leader Azim Afif Ishak, who said a search operation is ongoing.

Muhammad Hawari, 33, who is hearing impaired, went missing while on his way down to Camp 3 after reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

Meanwhile, Nepal's English daily The Himalayan Times, quoting expedition operator Pioneer Adventure director Nivest Karki, said Hawari had been missing since Friday (May 19) and search efforts are still underway.

Malaysia Everest 2023 climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim has gone missing while descending from Camp 4 after conquering the world's highest peak. - The Star/Asia News NetworkMalaysia Everest 2023 climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim has gone missing while descending from Camp 4 after conquering the world's highest peak. - The Star/Asia News Network

On the missing Singaporean climber issue, his wife Sushma, a 36-year-old musician, said: “Through his satellite phone, he told me that he had made it to the summit. But then he followed with bad news, saying he would not be able to make it down.”

She added that he told her he had come down with high altitude cerebral edema (Hace), a severe type of high altitude illness that could prove fatal.

She learnt at 2am on Saturday that the two sherpas he was with as well as another person in the group made it down from the mountain, but her husband never did.

The Straits Times has contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Seven Summit Treks - a Nepal-based adventure travel operator - for more information. Mr Shrinivas’ Everest ascent was organised by Seven Summit Treks and another operator, Nepal Guide Treks.

Singaporean climber Kumaran Rasappan, who scaled Mount Everest in 2012, said there are two main fatal illnesses that can occur at such high altitudes - Hace and high altitude pulmonary edema or Hape.

Dr Kumaran, 39, who is a consultant at the department of orthopaedic surgery at the National University Hospital, said the brain fills up with fluid when struck by Hace.

He added that the illness could lead to a loss of coordination and climbers could become unable to understand their surroundings. In some cases, they could experience hallucinations.

When hit with Hape, fluid fills up the climber’s lungs, he said. It can lead to cough, and climbers may experience breathlessness and difficulty walking.

Dr Kumaran, who holds an international diploma in mountain medicine, said: “The main thing that should be done when either of these two illnesses occur is to get the person down the mountain as soon as possible.”

He added that steroids and supplemental oxygen can act as temporary measures while the climber gets to lower altitude.

Shrinivas’ family members have started a petition on Change.org to help bolster support for ongoing search efforts.

The petition said a team of sherpas embarked on a search operation this morning, but added that there is more to do and a need to act faster. The petition has got 7,200 signatures, so far.

Sushma said: “We are racing against time to find him, and we are urgently looking for anyone who has rescue mission contacts in Nepal to help.” - The Straits Times/ANN

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