Saturday 17 August 2019

'Alan passed away despite everyone’s best efforts' - friends of Irish dad tell of bid to save his life on Russian mountain

Alan Mahon died during an expedition on Mount Elbrus
Alan Mahon died during an expedition on Mount Elbrus
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

FRIENDS of an 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 Meath; Des Mulvihill and Robert Forbes, both from Longford; and Oliver Greene from Westmeath, were met by a mountain rescue group and gave medical assistance.

But despite “best efforts” by both Mr Mahon’s friends and the rescue team, he passed away during the descent.

Independent.ie understands that Mr Mahon’s family are currently waiting for information from Russia so they can make the necessary preparations to bring him home to Ireland.

In a statement written by his climbing companions, weather conditions deteriorated rapidly while they were camping at 5,300 meters. 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 descended. 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 with 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.

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