The Straits Times/Asia News Network
In this file handout photo taken on May 22, 2019 and released by climber Nirmal Purja's Project Possible expedition shows heavy traffic of mountain climbers lining up to stand at the summit of Mount Everest. Three more climbers have died on Everest, expedition organisers and officials said on May 24, taking the toll from a deadly week on the overcrowded world's highest peak to seven. (Handout/Project Possible/AFP/File)
A spate of deaths on Mount Everest in May cannot be solely attributed to overcrowding on the mountain, Nepal's tourism authority has said.
The department's director-general, Mr Dandu Raj Ghimire, told the BBC that adverse weather conditions and other factors were also to blame for climbers dying or going missing on the peak.
Ten people have been reported dead or missing so far, but Mr Ghimire put the current death toll at eight.
Long queues have been reported near the summit of Mount Everest as a record number of climbers ascended the mountain in May.
This spring, 381 people have ascended Mount Everest, according to Mr Ghimire. However, he explained, due to the short periods of fine weather, the number of people on the routes had been higher than expected.
Four Indians, an Australian, an American and a Nepalese have died or gone missing on the mountain, besides one climber each from Britain and Ireland.
A local tour organizer said that one of the Indian climbers died of exhaustion after being "stuck in traffic for more than 12 hours".
Mr Ghimire offered "heartfelt condolences to those who've passed away and prayers to those who are still missing".
"Mountaineering in the Himalayas is in itself an adventurous, complex and sensitive issue requiring full awareness, yet tragic accidents are unavoidable," he told the BBC.
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