British woman who died on Himalaya trek 'couldn't tie shoelaces'

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A British woman who died of altitude sickness on a trekking holiday in Nepal was so ill she couldn't tie her own shoelaces, an inquest has heard.

Rachel Burke, 28, of Orpington, had booked a three-week trip through The Adventure Company (TAC), based in West Sussex.

She flew to Kathmandu with two friends on 5 April 2011, where she set off with guides to walk to Everest Base Camp.

Southwark Coroners Court heard that both TAC and its contractor in Nepal, Himalayan Encounters, had a code stating walkers should not ascend more than 300 to 500 metres in altitude per day.

But, according to This Is Local London, both companies approved an itinerary that saw her scale 640 metres in a single day, before stopping in the village of Machermo.

According to the Daily Mail, on the sixth day of the hike, she was taken part way back down the mountain, and died the next day, on 23 April, in Dole, Kathmandu.

The paper reports that her hand-eye co-ordination had failed and she was left unable to tie her shoelaces. She had also become breathless and her lips were tinged purple.

Father Steven Burke told This Is Local London: "Rachel told me before leaving that she was aware altitude sickness was a danger for anyone taking such a trip.

"But she said it was relatively simple to treat by simply going back down the mountain.

"I felt reassured knowing that she was going on a trip organised by a UK company."

The inquest continues.

Meanwhile, in October 2012, a British mountain climber died in the Himalayas after his guide missed signs of altitude sickness.

Andrew Dean, from Wimbledon, was on an 11-day trek through the Pir Panjal region in northern India when he died.

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