Irish climber missing on Everest hours after reaching summit

Seamus Lawless.

An Irish climber has gone missing while descending from the summit of Mount Everest.

Seamus Lawless, an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin, had been part of an Irish expedition team attempting to conquer the world's highest peak.

Mr Lawless had successfully scaled Everest along with the other Irish climbers and international mountaineers and sherpas.

He was part of an eight-strong team led by Noel Hanna, a climber from Co Down who had reached the peak eight times.

Mr Lawless slipped and fell from an area known as the Balcony while descending from the summit, a spokesperson for Seven Summit Treks, the guiding company, confirmed.

The area is more than 8,400 metres above sea level.

The other Irish climbers are safe and currently at 7,900 metres. They are due to descend the mountain tomorrow.

A spokesperson for Trinity College said Mr Lawless and his family "are in our thoughts during this extremely distressing time".

"This morning his family, friends and colleagues shared his joy on reaching the peak of Mount Everest. We hope that Seamus is found safely as soon as possible and until then we will be offering any support we can to his family.”

Earlier today, the university had extended its congratulations to Mr Lawless and his fellow members of Ireland on Everest expedition, saying it was a "tremendous achievement".

The 39-year-old from Bray, Co Wicklow, is married with a four-year-old daughter. He was climbing the mountain in an effort to raise €25,000 for the Barretstown charity which provides support for sick children and their families.

He and his wife had already climbed two peaks in the Himalayas, as well as Mount Denali in Alaska.

Mr Lawless had travelled to Nepal in April to acclimatise to the high altitudes.

"I turn 40 in July. My friends are joking that climbing Everest is my mid-life crisis," he told the Irish Independent in an interview last February.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it stands ready to provide consular assistance if requested.

Additional reporting by Eoin English

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