‘Global warming is to blame,’ says veteran climber Pat Falvey

Veteran Irish explorer Pat Falvey believes global warming was to blame for the lightning strike which killed Ian McKeever.

About 1,000 Irish people climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania every year, but Mr Falvey said this is the first time there has been such a tragic accident on the imposing African peak.

Mr Falvey told The Ray D’Arcy Show yesterday he believes the world’s changing climate caused the “freak” weather which hit Mr McKeever and his group as they climbed Kilimanjaro amid torrential downpours.

“It was quite freaky and probably it’s because of the global warming climate change and it happened in an area that he was misfortunate to be in,” he said. “It was a place called Lava Towers which sticks up in the air like a sore thumb. It is a tower of rock in the lunar landscape section.

“It is very unusual to have thunderstorms and rain at that particular level of the mountain but it is just the whole climate is changing.”

Climber and retired Garda Martin Byrne, who climbed Mount Everest in 2011 and recently brought a team of fundraisers to climb Kilimanjaro for the charity Concern Worldwide, said he was very saddened to hear of Mr McKeever’s death.

“Being struck by lightning while climbing is an extremely rare occurrence and, for all the massive amount of planning, physical training, and preparation that goes into such climbs, it is not a natural event anyone can prepare for,” he said.

“I have personally been affected by fatalities of climbing colleagues.

“My own climb to the peak of Everest was dampened considerably by the death five days earlier, just 48m from the summit, of Irish mountaineer John Delaney from Co Laois. My thoughts are with Ian’s family, friends, and colleagues.”

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