2 Americans, 1 Norwegian Dead in Separate Incidents While Climbing Highest Mountain in the Americas

Among the victims is U.S. military veteran John Michael Magness, 58, who was attempting the "Aconcagua Challenge" for the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund at the time of his death

Aconcagua from Aconcagua National Park point of view.
Photo: Getty

Authorities in Argentina say three people have died in the last four days while climbing Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas, per multiple reports.

Two U.S. citizens and a Norwegian died between Sunday and Wednesday in three separate incidents on the mountain, according to the Buenos Aires Times and CBS News.

U.S. mountaineer Ayn Vincent Day, 41, died Wednesday after reaching the summit of Aconcagua against his guide's advice, the outlets reported. He is the latest person to die on the mountain.

Deputy Commissioner Marcos Páez, head of the rescue team, reportedly said Moi Oystein, 62, of Norway, was the first victim in the string of deaths.

Oystein died Saturday after falling ill about 6,000 meters (more than 19,500 feet) above sea level at a spot known as La Cueva, according to the reports.

The next day, U.S. military veteran John Michael Magness, 58, died after reaching Camp Independencia at 6,300 meters (more than 20,000 feet) above sea level, the outlets reported.

John Magness, Dead After Reaching Summit of Argentine Mountain
Courtesy of the Magness Family

Magness died while attempting the "Aconcagua Challenge" with two other Army veterans, Don Fallin and Keith Brown, to raise funds and awareness for the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, according to a post on the organization's Facebook page.

The veteran "succumbed to medical complications" hours after reaching the summit, the organization said. They described Magness as a "classmate, teammate, and friend" who served others "until the end."

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"John was a dedicated leader serving on our Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund board of directors," the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund wrote on Facebook. "He was a fierce supporter of our organization's mission to provide scholarships to military children of our nation's fallen."

Magness' daughter Chelsea added, "He loved and believed so deeply in the Johnny Mac cause and mission and we will strive to continue his legacy."

John Magness, Dead After Reaching Summit of Argentine Mountain
Courtesy of the Magness Family

Located near the Argentina-Chile border, Aconcagua is the tallest mountain outside of Asia, according to the Times and CBS News.

Authorities said about 2,500 climbers have attempted to climb Aconcagua this season, per the Times report.

Earlier this year, a 32-year–old British mountaineer had his right leg amputated after falling at 20,000 feet on the mountain.

The climber also sustained a fractured skull from the fall, and was hospitalized at Hospital Central in the city of Mendoza nearly 70 miles away.

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