Google engineer dies in Nepal

Google executive Dan Fredinburg among more than dozen climbers killed in avalanche set off by Nepal's massive earthquake

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A Google engineer was killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest triggered by a massive earthquake that rocked Nepal, on Saturday.

Dan Fredinburg, a respected Google executive who headed privacy for Google X and lead its product management team, was among at least 17 climbers killed when an avalanche set off by the 7.9-magnitude earthquake rolled into the climbers' base camp.

Fredinburg suffered a major head injury during the avalanche, his sister Megan said on social media. "His soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us," she said on an Instagram posting.

His death was confirmed by Google, which indicated that three other Google employees were on the mountain with Fredinburg at the time of the avalanche.

A frequent and experienced climber, Fredinburg co-founded a climate change nonprofit, “Save The Ice,” and a startup accelerator in San Francisco called “The Laundry,” aimed at taking technology to emerging markets.

Fredinburg also formed the Google Adventure Team, which mapped exotic locations for Google's Street View tool. The team took 360-degree photos of the summit of Mount Everest and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, among others.

An estimated 100 climbers and guides were safe but trapped at camps one and two by the earthquake which rendered the treacherous Khumbu icefalls leading up to them from base camp impassable.

Survivors on Everest described a cloud of rock and ice that smashed into base camp, on Saturday. More than 60 people were injured, leading climbers to send frantic messages calling for helicopter assistance to evacuate the wounded.

Mountain rescue teams, helped by clear weather, used helicopters to airlift other climbers stranded for two days.

Romanian climber Alex Gavan said on Twitter that three helicopters had reached camps one and two, which are at altitudes of more than 6,000 metres (20,000 feet). Each helicopter is only capable of carrying two climbers due to the thin air, Gavan said from base camp.

Saturday's quake, centred between Nepal's two largest cities Kathmandu and Pokhara, was the strongest to hit the impoverished nation of 28 million people in 81 years.

TRTWorld and agencies