Thursday 22 August 2019

Friends describe desperate efforts to save life of dad of three on mountain

Alan Mahon on Mount Elbrus where he died after his climbing group was caught in bad weather
Alan Mahon on Mount Elbrus where he died after his climbing group was caught in bad weather
Mountaineer Alan Mahon
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Friends of the Irish mountaineer who died on Europe's highest mountain have spoken about how they desperately tried to save his life.

Father-of-three Alan Mahon (40), from Monasterevin, Co Kildare, died on Sunday during an expedition on the southern Russian peak of Mount Elbrus. He was with a five-man Irish group attempting the north route of the peak when tragedy struck after they were caught in bad weather.

His fellow climbers, Keith McDonnell from Co Meath, Des Mulvihill and Robert Forbes, both from Co Longford, and Oliver Greene from Co Westmeath, were met by a mountain rescue group and gave medical assistance.

But despite "best efforts" by Mr Mahon's friends and the rescue team, he died during the descent.

The Irish Independent understands Mr Mahon's family are waiting for information from Russia to make preparations to bring him home to Ireland.

A statement by his climbing companions said conditions deteriorated rapidly while they were camping at 5,300 metres. This required the team to remain there for two nights.

"We were joined by a Russian climbing team for the second night, led by an experienced local guide. We jointly made a decision to descend on June 30 when a small weather window provided sufficient visibility despite the extreme cold.

"All the team were strong and in good spirits while descending. Alan's condition rapidly deteriorated on descent. Once communications could be established, ground teams were mobilised.

"This rescue team rendezvoused with the descending team and took control to aid Alan's descent. The remaining team members descended to a safe location.

"To our sadness Alan passed away on his final descent despite everyone's best efforts," the statement read.

Irish Independent

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