News World Two Australians dead in Himalayan incidents

Two Australians dead in Himalayan incidents

Mr Kiernan was kayaking on the treacherous Humla Karnali river in the Himalayas. Photo: Facebook
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Tasmanian kayak adventurer Adrian Kiernan has died during a white-water mishap in Nepal, with the worldwide kayaking community shocked at the loss of a “legend” of the sport.

The ABC understands Mr Kiernan, 31, was kayaking on the treacherous Humla Karnali, a 240-kilometre-long river in the Himalayan region of Nepal with stretches of white water renowned for its difficulty when he got into trouble, according to friend and kayak partner Louis Bissonnette.

“As a lot of you heard by now, Adrian has passed yesterday November 15, 2018 around noon on the Humla Karnali,” Mr Bissonnette wrote on Facebook.

“We were all having the time of our life until the river drastically decided to put an end to it,” he said.

“We will remember you as a humble and dedicated human being. A man who lived life to the fullest, through his love for travelling and discovering new places, sparked at a young age by his loving family, further pursued with his wonderful girlfriend, his kayak, and all the people he met and loved along the way.

“Adrian, brother, we will all miss you so much, but we shall stay strong as we know you would. Rest in peace you legend. Much love to all affected by this terrible event.”

The exact circumstances of Mr Kiernan’s death are not known at this stage.

Earlier in November, Mr Kiernan told his Facebook followers he was “in Surkhet [Nepal] now. Anyone want to drop into Humla with Louis Bissonnette and I?”

Mr Kiernan’s family have shared the tributes to him from friends across social media.

DFAT providing assistance 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the ABC it was “providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family and friends of an Australian man who died in Nepal”.

“Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment.”

Friends and associates of Mr Kiernan, who also ran a Tasmanian tour company operating trips down the Franklin River, expressed their shock and sorrow at news of his death, with fellow adventurers sharing stories of trips with him.

Shane Pennicuik said he “could not believe the terrible news we have woken up to”.

“Such an awesome guy who will be greatly missed. Float on brother.”

Cumec kayaking magazine posted a tribute, thanking Mr Kiernan “for enriching the lives of so many and for what you gave back to our small paddling community in Australia and New Zealand”.

“Here’s to a good man, gone to soon.”

Posted by Cumec Magazine on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

South African kayaking entrepreneur Celliers Kruger, who sponsored Kiernan, said “when I paddled some rivers with him in Canada, I was in awe of his calm demeanour in the hairiest conditions”.

“I sponsored him for years, and he was one of those paddlers who always worked hard to make sure he deserves his sponsorship. He went beyond what was expected of him.”

Mr Kruger said Kiernan “lived life to the fullest, and it always made me happy to hear of his latest conquest in some odd corner of the Earth.

“He leaves a huge hole in the larger kayaking community. Another friend lost to a river.”

Rock fall kills Australian

Meanwhile, a Newcastle man has fallen to his death in the Himalayas after reports a “huge rock” dislodged and damaged his equipment while he was climbing a mountain with 14 other people.

The Nepali newspaper, The Himalayan, reported Michael Geoffrey Davis, 33, was part of an expedition on Ama Dablam — a 6812-metre peak in the Mt Everest region.

Tshering Pande Bhote from Top Himalaya Guides said strong winds had dislodged mountain debris, which fell onto the group while they were was descending.

“The mountaineer fell to his death after a huge rock damaged the ropes he was using to descend the mountain,” he said.

“His body has already been airlifted to Kathmandu for post mortem.”

Mr Bhote said no one else was injured.

Michael Davis posted this photo of himself shortly after arriving in Nepal at the end of October. Photo: Facebook

Friends and family remembered the Ausgrid engineer as an adventurous person with an infectious smile.

“Michael has left us doing what he loved, conquering the nooks and crannies of the world most of us only dream about,” a friend, Dean Spong, wrote on Facebook.

“Your endearing quirks and zest for life made you a truly unique character that had the ability to make life easy and fun where you were around.

“Your impact on us all is immeasurable. We’ll miss you, mate.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.