Sunday 23 July 2017

Widow defends husband's Everest climb

John Delaney: died just 50 metres from top of Everest
John Delaney: died just 50 metres from top of Everest
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE wife of the first Irishman to die trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest has defended her husband's decision to climb the world's highest mountain while she was pregnant.

John Delaney (41), from Kilcock, Co Kildare, lost his life on the world's highest mountain just 50 metres from the top on Saturday.

Friend and fellow adventurer Pat Falvey yesterday said Mr Delaney's wife, Orla, was aware of criticism of her husband and it was hurtful to the family.

"Orla, in relation to some statements, was saying that she is in full support of John -- that's the man she loved, the adventurer.

"While it's very hard to accept the situation that has happened, it was a risk that John knew and she knew could occur, in the event of him dying, that he could be left on the mountain," Mr Falvey said.

Mr Delaney -- who had two young sons, Caspar (3) and Alexander (2) -- died without knowing that his wife had given birth to their third child, a girl, last Wednesday.

Mr Falvey added: "She (Orla) said 'I packed his bags and left him go' and the child had come sooner than anticipated.

"She was proud of John, she knew what he was doing . . . so any criticism of John would be totally unfounded and would be very hurtful to her."

Mr Falvey said it was likely Mr Delaney died of pulmonary edema or cerebral edema -- a flooding of the lungs or a swelling of the brain -- followed by a heart attack.

A memorial service is due to be held in Mr Delaney's homeplace of Ballinakill, Co Laois, tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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