Irish climber missing in Himalaya feared dead

Other News Materials 3 August 2008 22:11 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - An Irish climber missing on the Himalayan mountain K2 is feared dead, Irish national broadcaster RTE reported Sunday.

Gerard McDonnell, 37, known as Ger and from the south-western city of Limerick, was among a group of climbers hit by falling ice near the summit of the world's second-highest mountain as they descended from the peak.

McDonnell was feted as a hero earlier in the year after completing the first Irish expedition to the South Pole.

"Following so closely on their righteous pride, and that of the country, at Gerard becoming the first Irish person to scale K2, it is truly heartbreaking that they must now contemplate the loss of a beloved son and brother," Irish President Mary McAleese said in a statement Sunday.

McDonnell's family told RTE they were "extremely proud of his many heroic and brave achievements" and said the last few days had been a roller-coaster of emotions.

On Friday, McDonnell became the first Irish person to reach the summit of K2.