59-year-old Japanese climber dies on Everest

Agence France-Presse

KATHMANDU?A 59-year-old Japanese climber has died attempting to scale Mount Everest in this season's third death on the world's highest peak, a government official said Friday.

Takashi Ozaki died on Thursday afternoon, most likely of altitude sickness, between South Col and the summit while attempting to reach the top, the official told AFP by telephone from Everest base camp.

"He had reached what mountaineers call the balcony of Everest at the height of 8,400 meters (27,600 feet). He reportedly had difficulty in ascending and died on his way back," government official Tilak Pandey said.

Pandey said the Japanese climber had scaled the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) mountain from the Tibetan side a few years ago.

On Monday, an 82-year-old Nepalese former minister died in his attempt to become the oldest person to climb the world's highest peak, while in early May American climber Rick Hitch, 55, also lost his life on the treacherous peak.

Around 300 people have died trying to conquer Mount Everest.

May is considered the optimum time for climbing in the Nepalese Himalayas and around 100 people have reached the top so far this year, including 40 on Friday.

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