Kathmandu: The Nepal Government on Thursday claimed that the large number of deaths of climbers on the Mount Everest this season is not solely due to the “traffic jam” on the world’s highest peak.
In a statement, Nepal’s Department of Tourism (DoT) said that the deaths on Mount Everest were caused by high altitude sickness and other health reasons and not due to congestion.
The Tourism Department’s statement comes amid criticism from all quarters that the Himalayan nation issued too many permits to scale the world’s tallest peak while disregarding the safety of the climbers.
The number of deaths on Mt Everest was put at 11 by the international media, making it the deadliest season since 2015. However, the Nepal tourism ministry maintained the death toll at 9 including Kalpana Dash, a prominent mountaineer from Odisha.
“Our attention has been drawn to the wrong information about deaths on Everest conveyed by national and international media,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, Director General of DoT, adding that “traffic jam” did not cause the deaths.
The post-mortem reports of the deceased climbers have shown that they died due to high altitude sickness, weakness or adverse weather conditions, Ghimire.
The DoT had issued 366 expedition permits in 2017 and 346 expedition permits in 2018 – not a huge difference compared to 381 permits issued this year for the highest peak, the statement said.
“Hence, it untrue that congestion killed climbers on Mt Everest and we urge everyone not to be swayed by false information,” the statement added.