PETALING JAYA: K Parthiban, 38, a senior civil servant in the foreign ministry died this morning before reaching the Everest Base Camp (EBC), forcing his group of nine Malaysians to abort the expedition.
Parthiban reportedly fainted and had to be rushed to a clinic but was pronounced dead on arrival. He is suspected to have died of complications arising from altitude sickness. EBC, which is known as the South Base Camp, is at an altitude of 5,364m.
According to a member of his group, K Saravanan, Parthiban’s body is currently at a Kathmandu hospital where a post-mortem is likely to be carried out tomorrow morning.
“His death came as a shock to us and we are distraught. I just met him and I found him to be an extremely nice person,” Saravanan told FMT.
An official said Wisma Putra is making arrangements to repatriate Parthiban’s remains as soon as possible.
Parthiban was in his ninth day of the 14-day expedition, having left Malaysia on Oct 21, and the group was supposed to have departed for EBC, their final destination, early this morning.
Parthiban, who was single and a hiking enthusiast had reached the peak of Mount Kinabalu last year.
His brother K Kuganesh, when contacted, said his family was struggling with the news.
“It’s a huge loss for us and we are trying to come to terms with it. We are not sure when his body will arrive. Arrangements are being made by the authorities,” he told FMT.
According to a colleague who once served with him at the Malaysian embassy in South Korea, Parthiban was a well-liked person and a conscientious worker.
“We are shocked that he had left us so early. We will surely miss him,” she posted on Facebook.