An Australian academic from a university based in Melbourne died while descending from the summit of Mt. Everest. Another Australian was injured.
Maria Strydom, a lecturer from Monash University, succumbed to altitude sickness. It was reported that she suffered from stroke and snow blindness as she was making her descent from Mt. Everest on Saturday.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, it had been more than a month since the banking and finance expert began travelling in Nepal. She was there with her husband and 10 other climbers.
Strydom also goes by the name Marisa. She was on a seven-week expedition with her husband Robert Gropel. He was also wounded during the trek.
It was reported on Sunday that the Department of Foreign Affairs would not give confirmation whether Strydom’s husband was the second Australian who was being assisted.
The family of the 34-year-old said that the couple’s GPS tracker suddenly stopped working on Friday.
There was a single transmission from the tracker yesterday that gave them hope.
According to Strydom’s sister Aletta Newman, while doing a Google search last night, she saw the devastating news that Strydom had died.
“Before I went to bed last night, I came across this article on the Himalayan Times naming my sister as having died on Everest and that is the absolute first I’d heard of it,” Newman said.
A spokeswoman said that the Department of Foreign Affairs is giving “consular assistance” to the family of an Australian woman who had died on Mt Everest in Nepal.
“DFAT is also providing consular assistance to an injured Australian man accompanying the woman,” the spokeswoman said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has also informed Newman that Gropel was injured, and that they are trying to bring him down from the mountain. However, any further info has not been provided.
Strydom’s mother Maritha Strydom wrote on Facebook today that they are all praying for Gropel’s safety. Efforts are also being exerted to retrieve Strydom’s body.
It was reported by 9 News that it would be a difficult task due to the elevation, which is 8,000 meters.