There is extremely sad news to report from Singapore today where it was announced that mountaineer Wui Kin Chin has passed away. His death was the result of the injuries he suffered while stranded at high altitude on Annapurna last week. Despite a valiant rescue effort, treatment in a Kathmandu hospital, and being sent home to Singapore for care, he succumbed to those injuries earlier today. He was 49 years old.
Kin Chin’s story has dominated the news cycle out of the Himalaya over the past week. First it was reported that he had gone missing high on Annapurna after summiting with his team last Tuesday. Later it was revealed that his Sherpa guide had been forced to leave him behind when his own oxygen was running low. On Wednesday, Kin Chin’s wife called Seven Summit Treks –– the expedition organizer –– to initiate a search and rescue effort.
Later, a helicopter flying at high altitude spotted him alive and waving his arms above 7500 meters (24,606 ft), which prompted a four-man team to be airlifted up to Camp 3 to launch a rescue. The rescuers were eventually able to reach Kin Chin’s position, but only after he had been exposed to the elements for more than 43 hours without food, water, or bottled oxygen. Through a great effort they were able to bring him down and get him airlifted back to Kathmandu last Friday, where he was treated by doctors at the Mediciti hospital for two days before being evacuated back to Singapore.
For a time, it seemed like Kin Chin has stabilized and was possibly even improving. Initially he was listed as being in critical condition when he reached Kathmandu, but by Sunday it seemed he had at least stabilized. We do know that he was suffering from severe frostbite, the extent of which has not been revealed. Needless to say, that can be an extremely painful and taxing ailment, that no doubt took its toll on his already weakened body.
We’ve followed this story closely as each stage has unfolded and it is incredibly sad to hear that it has ended this way. The overwhelming opinion in the mountaineering community has been that it was a miracle that he had survived and I think everyone was pulling for Wui. Our condolences go out to his friends and family in these trying times. Our thoughts are with you.
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