Lightning kills Irishman on Kilimanjaro

Published Thursday, 03 January 2013
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Well-known Irish adventurer Ian McKeever has been killed in a freak tragedy while leading a group of climbers up Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.

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VIDEO: Pat Falvey talks to UTV about Mount Kilimanjaro and the tragic death of his fellow adventurer Ian McKeever.

The 42-year-old, from Lough Dan in Co Wicklow, was hit by lightning during a storm on Wednesday.

His family released a brief statement on Mr McKeever's Kilimanjaro Achievers page on Facebook, saying: "It is with deep regret that we, Ian's family, fiancée Anna and friends, advise of his sudden death on Kilimanjaro, doing what he loved best."

His fiancée was with him during the climb, while other family members are now travelling to Tanzania.

A number of those in the group which set off from the Republic of Ireland on 28 December are understood to have required medical attention.

Ian will be remembered as a person who went out and followed his dreams ... He loved climbing mountains.

Pat Falvey, fellow adventurer

The day before his death, Mr McKeever posted what was to be his final update on Facebook - in which he said the group were facing a big day as they prepared to tackle "the Lava Tower".

"Torrential rain all day," he noted.

"Spirits remain good even if drying clothes is proving impossible! We pray for dryer weather tomorrow."

Mr McKeever, a lecturer, broadcaster and author, regularly mentored climbers to scale the 5,895m peak and was also known for having scaled Mount Everest.

He previously held the record for having climbed the seven highest mountains in the world.

Among his many other achievements was helping his then 10-year-old godson Sean McSharry become the youngest person in Europe to reach the top of Kilimanjaro in 2008.

Many of the online tributes paid to Mr McKeever hailed him as an inspiration who encouraged and helped others to follow their dreams and achieve their goals.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who had come to know Mr McKeever through his extensive charity work, said he was very saddened by the news of his death.

"He was extremely passionate about what he did and driven in his belief that everybody can achieve their potential during their lifetime," Mr Kenny said.

"Ian said to me once that there was no place he would rather be than in the mountains."

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