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Family heartbreak after Aussie man’s death on Mount Everest

Australian man dies on Mount Everest

A 40-year-old Australian man has died descending Mount Everest.

Jason Bernard Kennison, a Perth-based mining engineer who was originally from South Australia, died on his way down the mountain on Friday morning.

Mr Kennison’s father Jock said local police notified him of his son’s death early on Sunday.

Asian Trekking chief Dawa Steven Sherpa told local media that Mr Kennison was brought to the Balcony area, which is at more than 8000 metres, by his two Sherpa guides after becoming “unresponsive” at the summit.

“Since the oxygen cylinders that they had with them were running out, they decided to descend to Camp 4, hoping to climb back again with oxygen cylinders to rescue him,” he said.

“It was high wind and bad weather that prevented them [from] going back to bring him down. He died at the Balcony area.”

Mr Kennison had been in Nepal for six weeks to train for the climb, which had a personal goal. He was raising money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, after suffering traumatic injuries to his femur and shoulder in a serious motor vehicle accident in 2006.

Aged just 23, Mr Kennison had to regain function in his arms and legs and to learn to walk again, while battling depression.

He also endured another setback when he suffered spinal nerve damage after a routine spinal procedure.

On Monday, his sister Michelle Graham told the ABC that he had accomplished his goal of reaching the peak.

“We are so proud of his achievements and we take great solace in knowing he made it to the summit. The highest place on this Earth,” she said.

“Jason was one to live a full life.

“He would put his mind to something, set a goal and achieve it.

“His family are heartbroken and he will be forever missed.”

Mr Kennison’s family also released a statement, saying he wanted to help others who had faced similar struggles to his.

“Jason was one to live a full life. He would put his mind to something, set a goal and achieve it. Whether that be playing footy as a kid, winning motorcross races, working around the world in the mining industry and in high risk environments,” it said.

“He did all the training he could in preparation to achieving his new goal: Climbing to the top of Everest. He trained anywhere he could, including the mountains of New Zealand.

“We are so proud of his achievements and we take great solace in knowing he made it to the summit.

“He was the beloved son of Jock and Gill, and brother to five siblings.

“His family are heartbroken and he will be forever missed.”

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia also acknowledged Mr Kennison’s efforts.

“Jason Kennison continues on his amazing journey climbing Mount Everest. We wish him all the best on his next leg to the peak!” it wrote in a Facebook post on May 10.

It also shared a statement from Mr Kennison, who called the climb “one of the toughest challenges in my life to date”.

“We have now finished all our acclimatisation runs … All sections have their own unique challenges that, at altitude, are physically demanding. The weather was especially challenging on the final rotation with heavy winds and snow,” he said.

“We are now resting at base camp, keeping active until a safe weather window appears on the summit of Everest to start our final summit push.”

“With one final push, I expect to be one of the toughest challenges in my life to date, I encourage people to help out and donate to SCIA, no matter how big or small.”

Mr Kennison’s body is yet to be recovered.

He is the sixth foreigner to die on the mountain so far this year, while four sherpas have also died.

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