Leading Irish adventurer killed by lightning on Mt Kilimanjaro

Leading Irish adventurer killed by lightning on Mt Kilimanjaro
Leading Irish adventurer killed by lightning on Mt Kilimanjaro

Ian McKeever with his godson Sean McSharry: PA

One of Ireland's leading mountaineers has died after being struck by lightning on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Ian McKeever, 42, from Lough Dan in Wicklow, was leading a group of on a charity climb when they were struck by lightning on Wednesday.

The group were due to ascend the Lava Tower, a key point of acclimatisation at 15,000ft, before descending slightly to sleep, and then attempting to reach the summit of the 19,340ft mountain on Friday, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Me McKeever's fiancée, Anna O'Louglin, 34, who he was set to marry in September, was injured in the storm, along with up to six other members of the expedition, although it is thought they were not seriously hurt.

On Wednesday morning Mr McKeever's Kilimanjaro achiever's Facebook page update read: "Torrential rain all day. Spirits remain good even if drying clothes is proving impossible! We pray for drier weather tomorrow – the big day."

On his Facebook page on Wednesday night, a statement said: "It is with deep regret, that we, Ian's family, fiancee Anna and friends, advise of his sudden death on Kilimanjaro, today, doing what he loved best."

Mr McKeever had climbed Kilimanjaro several times, and had enjoyed a decade-long mountaineering career, which saw many achievements, including setting a world record for the fastest successful summiting of the highest peaks on all seven continents, finishing the feat in 156 days in 2007.

Tributes to Ian have poured in this week. According to the BBC, Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny said: "I was very saddened to hear of the death of renowned adventurer Ian McKeever.

"I had come to know him over recent years and I admired him not only for his own achievements and charity work but also for his work with young people in challenging them to achieve their full potential.

"He was extremely passionate about what he did and driven in his belief that everybody can achieve their potential during their lifetime.

"Ian said to me once that there was no place he would rather be than in the mountains."

Pat Falvey, renowned Irish explorer, said Mr McKeever "followed his dreams with conviction and inspired others", adding: "It was a freak accident and a complete fluke. I have lost two friends in lightning strikes, including one on the Himalayas - but they are very rare on Kilimanjaro."

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