S’pore Climber Who Went Missing on Mt Everest Told Wife He May Not Return in Last Call

Singaporean climber Mr Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya last communicated with his wife on 19 May 2023, where he shared the news of his successful summit of Mount Everest but also expressed uncertainty about his descent.

Mr Shrinivas, 39, holds the executive director position at a real estate firm and commenced his Everest expedition on 1 April 2023 and was scheduled to return on 4 June 2023.

His wife, Ms Sushma Soma, a musician, received his last communication at 3:30 pm on 19 May 2023, before he was reported missing.

The current whereabouts of Mr Shrinivas remain unknown

Husband Went Missing After Separating From Group

After successfully reaching the summit of Mount Everest on the morning of 19 May 2023, Mr Shrinivas went missing, causing his family to seek assistance from relevant authorities and to create a petition to gather more support for his search and rescue mission.

According to the petition posted on change.org, Mr Shrinivas embarked on his journey from Singapore to Nepal in April 2023 with the goal of conquering the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest


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A post shared by Sushma Soma (@sushmasaurus)

His wife, Ms Soma, shared on Instagram that her husband had decided to undertake the challenging climb following his successful ascent of Manaslu Mountain, the eighth-highest mountain in the world at 8,163 metres, in March 2023.

Motivated by the desire to conquer Earth’s tallest mountain, standing at over 8,848 metres, he joined an expedition organised by Nepal Guide Treks and Seven Summit Treks, a Nepalese company specialising in guided climbs on Mount Everest and other mountains.

On 20 May 2023, at 2 am, Ms Soma learned that the two Sherpas accompanying her husband had successfully descended from the mountain with another member of the expedition group.

Unfortunately, Mr Shrinivas was last in contact with base camp officials at around 8,500 metres, near the mountain’s peak, before disappearing from sight and losing contact with his Sherpa guides.

Fatalities From Climbing Mount Everest Not Uncommon

This season, Nepal has granted 478 permits to foreign climbers for Mount Everest, which extends until early June 2023.

According to the country’s tourism department, over 400 climbers have already successfully reached the summit since 20 May 2023.

However, embarking on an expedition to Mount Everest is a daunting challenge.

Over 310 individuals have lost their lives on Mount Everest since 1977, with the majority of fatalities occurring in its treacherous “death zone” above 8,000 metres.

According to Ms Soma, who received communication from Mr Shrinivas via satellite phone, he also reached the aforementioned “death zone” at approximately 8,500 metres on 19 May 2023

In this zone, oxygen levels are minimal, leading to cellular death in the body and impaired judgment.

Each spring, an average of five climbers lose their lives on Mount Everest due to the aforementioned factors. 

The death toll has been exceptionally high in 2023, with nine fatalities reported as of May

Two climbers, one from Singapore and another from Malaysia, have been reported missing while attempting to reach the peak of Mount Everest in the same month.

Potential Chances of Fatality From Altitude-Related Illnesses

Mr Shrinivas disclosed his condition of High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), a severe and potentially fatal high-altitude illness, during his last conversation with his wife

According to Dr Kumaran Rasappan, a Singaporean climber and a consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH), HACE is one of the two main fatal illnesses that can occur at extreme altitudes.

HACE occurs when the brain fills up with fluid, he explained, and individuals suffering from HACE may experience a loss of coordination and an inability to comprehend their surroundings.

In some cases, hallucinations may occur.

Another common altitude-related illness is High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), where fluid accumulates in the lungs, resulting in symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness, and difficulty walking.

While climbers can reduce the risk of altitude-related illnesses by ascending at a slower pace, those who are already ill should seek assistance to descend from the mountain as quickly as possible.

Dr Kumaran added that temporary measures, such as using steroids like Dexamethasone and supplemental oxygen, can be helpful until the climber reaches a lower altitude.

Search and Rescue Efforts Are Ongoing

Following Mr Shrinivas’s disappearance, a team of Sherpas initiated a search operation on the morning of 20 May 2023. 

However, his family has expressed the need for more extensive and expeditious efforts to locate him

To gather additional support for the search mission, the family has created a petition, which has already garnered 31,457 signatures. 

The petition aims to rally for increased efforts and resources, including the involvement of a specialised rescue team trained to navigate the perilous terrain of Mount Everest. 

According to them, these additional resources can help ensure that bureaucratic processes do not hinder the rescue operation.

In response to inquiries, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that the Singapore High Commission in New Delhi had been actively coordinating with Mr Shrinivas’s family, Nepalese authorities, and emergency medical services since the evening of 19 May 2023.

The MFA spokesperson affirmed that search and rescue operations are ongoing, emphasising their commitment to providing continuous support to the family during this challenging period.