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Human Interest

Alabama Doctor, 50, Dies While Trying to Climb Everest, Marking the Third Death This Month

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A 50-year-old Alabama climber on Mount Everest reportedly died during his hike on Sunday, making him the third death in the past month on the world’s tallest peak, according to multiple outlets.

Dr. Roland Yearwood, a physician, reportedly died not far from the summit on the Nepal side early Sunday, according to The Washington Post.

Dr. Yearwood perished in an area called “death zone,” which is known for thin air, Murari Sharma of the Everest Parivar trekking company, located in Kathmandu, Nepal, told Reuters.

“We have confirmation of his death but no other details are known,” Sharma, whose company sponsored Dr. Yearwood’s climb, said. “It is also unclear if he was on his way up or down from the summit.”

Slovak mountaineer Vladimir Strba also died Sunday, according to the Himalayan Times — and on the Tibet side of the mountain, a 54-year-old Australian climber, Francesco Enrico Marchetti, died after suffering altitude sickness, according to another report in the Himalayan Times. Search operations have continued for an Indian climber who was separated from his guide Saturday, according to Reuters.

“The weather has been pretty bad, especially with high winds, but there were some little keyholes which climbers have been lucky to take advantage of,” Tendi Sherpa, a longtime guide, told the Post. “Several teams got lucky but there are also many climbers who had to turn around half way to the summit due to high winds.”

Dr. Yearwood had returned to Everest after surviving an avalanche on the mountain in 2015. He and his group survived the incident and descended to base camp, where a helicopter rescued them. 18 people reportedly died at base camp during that incident, according to local news site AL.com.

“He is always calm,” Dr. Amrita Yearwood, his wife who is also a physician, told AL.com at the time. “He does a lot of sports. He is adventurous. He doesn’t get freaked out.”

RELATED VIDEO: First Cancer Survivor With One Functioning Lung To Reach Top Of Mt. Everest Plans North Pole Trek

Climbing Everest carries dangerous risks of high-altitude related sicknesses, and every spring climbing season in recent years has claimed lives, with more than 280 dying over the years, according to the Post.

After completing hospital training in London and New York, Dr. Yearwood moved to southern Alabama, where he provided primary care. He has two daughters enrolled in college, according to his staff profile, and sailing, diving and flying are his favorite hobbies.

Everest Parivar and the Nepalese authorities did not respond to a request for comment.