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Second fatality on Everest this spring: American Mike O'Brien falls to death in a crevasse
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May 18, 2005 18: 23 EST
Previously published May 2, 2005 08: 10 EST

“An Oswego native climbing Mount Everest with his brother died Sunday when he fell into a deep crevasse”, reported Syracuse-based paper The Post Standard.

“Mike O'Brien, 39, slipped as he and his brother Chris were climbing down from a camp at 20,341 feet to their base camp,” their father, Dr. David O'Brien told The Post Standard. “Chris O'Brien, 32, helped recover his brother's body.”

Mike and Chris were seeking to become the first American brothers to summit Mount Everest together.

Tragedy-stricken family

The brothers - whose mother and sister died from complications from Huntington's disease - were climbing Mount Everest to try to raise $100,000 for the Hereditary Disease Foundation. HDF funds scientific research seeking cures for diseases such as Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's.

"We prayed to God that they'd be safe," Dr. O'Brien said. "I guess God knows best."

Nothing could foresee the tragic events. Last Thursday, Mike O’Brien reported from BC: “Our first couple of encounters with the infamous Khumbu Icefall have been, so far, uneventful. The ice docs seem to have put up a good route.”

The O’Brien brothers were part of SummitClimb team, organized by Dan Mazur.

Second casualty in three days

Mike´s accident is the second fatality on Everest's south side in three days. Last Friday Canadian Dr. Sean Egan, associate professor at Ottawa University and member of the Kanatek expedition, died after suffering a heart attack on his way down to Periche. Egan had been dealing with a pulmonary infection; and started feeling bad on his trip up to C2 last week. He thus decided to retreat to lower altitudes along with his Sherpa and visit HRA hospital at Periche.

Egan called his teammate, Harold, from Thukla, stating he was too weak to continue further to Pheriche. Harold arranged for a helicopter evacuation. Apparently Sean collapsed as the helicopter arrived, probably from a cardiac arrest. They performed CPR on Egan, but they were unable to save him.

Image of Michael O’Brien on Cho Oyu, courtesy of O’Brien brothers HDF expedition.
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