A Kelsall teenager who survived what could be the deadliest avalanche in the history of Mount Everest is urging people to support the Himalayan people whose lives have been torn apart by the tragedy.
Alex Staniforth, 19, who was in the middle of his second attempt at conquering the 29, 035ft mountain, is lucky to be alive after being caught up in the avalanche sparked by a massive earthquake in Nepal, leaving more than 4,000 people dead.
In a statement released by his support team, the former Tarporley High School pupil is said to be ‘completely devastated’ at the tragic loss of lives of so many people, many of who he had classed as friends, and thinks it would be ‘unthinkable’ for the expedition to continue.
Tent destroyed by avalanche
Chris Spray who is moderating Alex’s Twitter account on the teenager’s behalf, told The Chronicle: “Alex was at camp one on Everest when the quake struck and was airlifted to base camp today, where he will be transferred to the capital. His sleeping tent was destroyed by the avalanche.
“There are still aftershocks and avalanches all around him and he is still in shock and can’t quite take in what is happening, but what he really wants us to push home is how much the people of Nepal need help right now.
“Many of his Sherpa friends have lost loved ones. He wants everyone to know that none of this is about his dreams, sponsors or any corporate images that need to be upheld anymore - it’s about the people. It’s about the ones who have fallen, the ones who are injured and the families who now face an enduring battle to overcome an irreparable void after being dealt the cruellest of hands.”
Chris added: “It would be unthinkable for the expedition to continue after such a tragedy. The mountain will always be there. His friends need to grieve. At the moment Alex wants to sit tight so that the rescue and relief effort can happen before they make concrete plans.
“But he is in great hands with a strong team who will make the right decisions.”
Second time Alex has had to abandon his dream
The tragedy comes a year after Alex was forced to cancel his first attempt at climbing Everest, after a huge avalanche left 16 Nepalese Sherpa guides dead. He had already been raising money for those affected by last year’s avalanche and is now appealing for people to support those affected by the latest disaster.
A statement on Alex’s Facebook page EPIC7 - Through Adversity to Everest 2015, said: “Alex’s message is clear - do whatever you can to help these people. If you can donate to the Nepal disaster funds, please do and if you can’t, please share this update and get the message out to others who can.
“We can’t fix what Mother Nature has ruthlessly thrown at the people of Nepal two years in a row, but we can certainly aid in their recovery.”
Alex’s mum Debbie Brooks wrote on her Facebook page yesterday: Just spoke to Alex he is getting a helicopter to base camp . He says he is so lucky, he has never been so scared. We just want to get him home now.”