Man dies after Everest avalanche

THOMAS O'BYRNE
Last updated 10:36 17/10/2013
Fairfax Australia

Rescue workers attempt to save people caught in an avalanche on Mount Everest.

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A 60-year-old Australian man has died after he was buried under snow for six hours following an avalanche on Mount Everest.

The man, identified as Dean Higgins from Adelaide, had managed to dig himself and his wife from the snow following the avalanche.

However, Chinese media reported Higgins later died "as a result of altitude sickness, poor health and age".

Julie Mahony, a family friend, told Australia's ABC that the couple took about eight hours to get to the bottom of the mountain, where Higgins died.

"They had to get down the mountain to safety," Mahony said.

"We're not exactly sure what happened, but he was alive until they got down the bottom."

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said consular officials were in contact with Higgins' wife.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can confirm the death of a 60-year-old Adelaide man in Tibet.

"Consular officials from the Australian Embassy in Beijing have been in contact with the man's wife and are providing consular assistance."

Chinese state media reported three Tibetans also died and said the mountain tour was "illegal".

The Xinhua News Agency reported that a local tourist agency had organised a trip for four tourists to an off-limits area on Sunday evening.

The group of 10, which included three herders who acted as porters, two cooks and a tour guide, encountered an avalanche, and one Australian and the three local herders died, it reported.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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