UPDATE FROM DAVE HANCOCK PERTH FTA OFFICE
I have just had a long phone call with Stu from Cho Oyu BC. Thankfully the signal was reasonably strong and we did not lose the connection this time.
It is now confirmed that Guy Leveille has perished on the descent. Guy and Stu Remensnyder, the team leader and head guide, were involved in what sounds to have been an epic descent after Stu summitted and then turned Guy around just 60m from the top at 3:45pm on Saturday. They were up above 7500m for nearly 28 hours. Guy had weakened considerably during the long climb down, and at an as yet unknown point fell and slid away from Stu.
It is also now confirmed that all members have returned safely to BC. One or two will leave early tomorrow for treatment in Kathmandu, however we stress that everybody now is OK and out of danger. There were several dramas unfolding high on the hill during Friday and Saturday nights, involving multiple teams including that of the SummitClimb group. Another climber had to be rescuscitated with CPR after collapsing, and other climbers took long and dangerous falls and have been injured and evacuated.
Stu sounded exhausted, but OK. He said the mood in the group was strong and they were well knit and hanging in there together in light of the loss of Guy. He hopes to have the team out by the 9th back into KTM.
We need to publicly express our sincere thanks to the decent and professional people running the IMG group on the hill. Stu made the comment they were the only people who responded when the initial emergency calls went out on the radios at 2am that included a plee for oxygen to be brought up. They found the manpower and the resources necessary to aid in the rescues and we cannot applaud the actions of the IMG staff and team enough.
As far as I am aware the following Field Touring team members reached the summit:
Lahkpa Sherpa (Nepal)
Stu Remensnyder (USA)
Italo Mazza (Italy)
Rob Baker (Australia)
Ryan Castel (Australia)
Justin Moody (UK)
Guy Higgot (Canada)
Kit Dickson (UK) and Eric Haugen (Norway) came 'very close'
Needless to say our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Guy Leveille, who have shown considerable strength in the wake of this tragedy, and his many work associates with whom we have spent some time on the phone with today at the Winnipeg Police Service.
Stu will issue a more detailed report upon his return to Kathmandu, as mentioned, hopefully on the 9th October.