British man abandons Everest peak ascent to save fellow climber

Leslie Binns saved woman's life during difficult descent

British man abandons Everest peak ascent to save fellow climber

A British climber gave up his opportunity to reach the top of Mount Everest to save the life of a fellow climber.

Leslie Binns, 42, originally from Rotherham, was less than 500 metres (and 12 hours) from the summit when he turned around to save Indian climber Sunita Hazra on 21 May.

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Mr Binns, who served in the Army for 13 years and was blinded in his left eye after an explosion in Afghanistan, said he was "immensely proud" to have saved someone's life, but that he wished he could have helped another climber who died on the descent.

Explaining what happened, Mr Binns told the BBC: "I helped her upright and looked at her oxygen regulator – it was registering empty.

"I climbed down to her and called my sherpa. I told him we were not going up and we would give Sunita my spare oxygen bottle and take her down."

Sunita was suffering from hypothermia and was badly frostbitten on her hands.

The Guardian reports that on the difficult descent, the trio came across another climber who was struggling to descend and took him with them.

However, he kept collapsing and they were unable to get him to Binns' camp.

Hazra's sherpa collected her from Binns' camp the next morning, and Binns continued his descent. He then came across the body of the man they had tried to help, and said he wished he "could have done more".

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Hazra's brother said her family "cannot express our gratitude" to Mr Binns for saving her,adding: "He's the reason why she is still alive now. He is a very brave man."

A host of people have praised his actions on Facebook. One user wrote: "Well done lad you make Yorkshire and British climbers and public proud."

Another said: "500m from the top of the world and he turns back to save a life. Well done Mr Binns; that's a greater achievement than a summit any day in my book."

And another wrote: "If there is only one prize for mountaineering in the whole world, it should be awarded to Leslie. By choosing not to scale the highest peak even after reaching very close to it, he has actually scaled the peak of real heroism and would remain an example of the mountaineering community. No word is enough to describe his brave and unselfish act."

Mr Binns is due to return to the UK on Monday and will be reunited with his fiancee and daughter.

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