Suffolk man died scaling Russian mountain
- Credit: Archant
A man from Suffolk died while attempting to climb the tallest mountain in Europe, an inquest heard.
Daniel Read, 37, from Woodbridge, suffered a cardiac arrest while scaling Mount Elbrus in July 2017.
At an inquest into his death on Monday, coroner Dan Sharpstone described how Mr Read was enjoying an adventure-filled trip to Russia when he suddenly became seriously ill.
As part of a trek run by Adventure Peaks, a company specialising in worldwide expeditions, Mr Read was on track to scale Mount Elbrus, Europe’s tallest mountain.
His expedition leader, Gavin Kellett, described how Mr Read had developed mild altitude sickness on day eight of the trip – after spending some time at The Barrels accommodation, at 3,800 metres.
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However after taking in plenty of water and relaxing with the rest of the group, Mr Read soon recovered completely and felt ready to take on the next stage of the ascent, the inquest heard.
On day nine of the trip, Mr Read confirmed to Mr Kellett that he felt fit to continue, and the group prepared to make their trip to the mountain’s summit.
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Using a specialist vehicle called a snowcat, the mountaineers ascended further before stopping to continue the journey on foot.
It was less than two minutes after Mr Read stepped off the vehicle that he suffered a cardiac arrest and died suddenly.
While it was initially thought that Mr Read’s death may be a product of his altitude sickness, this was later ruled out by Dr Daniel Martin, researcher at the UCL centre for altitude, space and extreme environment medicine.
Dr Martin’s report noted that, while altitude sickness can be unpleasant, it does not in itself lead to death.
He added that “Mr Kellett was a very attentive guide” who had monitored Mr Read’s health with all due care.
The only “plausible explanation” for Mr Read’s death, according to Dr Martin, was therefore rapid cardiac arrhythmia, which may be have triggered by walking at high altitude.
Summing up, Dr Sharpstone agreed with Dr Martin’s conclusions.
“Mr Read died as a consequence of sudden cardiac death most likely secondary to cardiac arrhythmia,” he said. “Being at high altitude may have provided this.”
Addressing Mr Read’s family, he added: “You have our sympathies and our shared sadness.”