Kerala man infected with Covid while climbing Mt Everest; seeking help to return
Thiruvananthapuram: While ascending Mount Everest, Keralite mountaineer Umesh never thought he will have to fight Covid-19 and cold at a time. Though he survived the ordeal, he was heartbroken when left alone at a Covid centre in Kathmandu. Thiruvananthapuram Ulloor native Umesh Panicker was infected with Covid while climbing the Everest.
The 43-year-old started his journey ‘Seven Summit’ to climb seven mountains in seven continents on March 30. First, he conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Russia. Then he decided to climb the Everest. As Umesh was once infected with Covid and he had received both doses of Covid vaccine, he was not concerned of the pandemic.
He started ascending Mount Everest with a Sherpa on April 9. By the time they reached camp 2, the temperature at night dropped to -20 degree Celsius. Umesh started spitting blood and was affected with snow blindness. With this, he was unable to return and believed death was nearing. So, he directed the Sherpa to go back leaving him behind.
As a last attempt to save Umesh, the Sherpa returned to the base camp and informed the authorities through walkie-talkie. A helicopter came next day in search of his body and found Umesh alive. He was hospitalised immediately. But he had to pay Rs 1 lakh for a single day’s quarantine. When he was shifted to a Covid centre, there was no doctors.
Though Umesh tried to contact Indian Embassy, no response was received. Being a development trainer in UAE, Umesh contacted UAE Embassy and the manager visited him directly to inquire details. However, his flight trip is not assured yet. He is still waiting for help.