Everest double amputee mountaineer pledges to work for people with disabilities

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The first double above-knee amputee to climb Mount Everest returned from the mountain on Tuesday with a pledge to dedicate the rest of his life to helping people with disabilities.

Hari Budha Magar, a former Gurkha soldier who lives in Britain, summited the world’s tallest mountain last week.

“My main goal for the rest of my life will be to work on disability awareness,” Magar said upon returning to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

As a soldier in a British Army Gurkha regiment, Magar lost both his legs in Afghanistan when he accidentally stepped on an improvised explosive device in 2010.

Hundreds of supporters and officials, including Nepal’s tourism minister, greeted him at Kathmandu airport and presented him with garlands.

He was taken from the airport in an open truck decorated with flowers and greeted people along the way.

“We all have our own weaknesses and handicaps, but instead of weaknesses, we should focus on our strength, and only then can we all lead better and meaningful lives,” he said. he declares.

He said climbing the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain was not easy and he thought about quitting several times because of his family.

“I had made a promise that I would have to come back for the sake of my son,” he said.

On the way to the top, he ran out of oxygen in the tank he was carrying.

“It was the first time I experienced what it’s like to be oxygen deprived. I was tingling, my hands and feet were cold and I was out of breath,” he said.

He was able to get more oxygen from his climbing partners, but then struggled with bad weather as he approached the summit, which he reached in the late afternoon due to his slow pace. Most climbers try to reach the summit in the morning as conditions become treacherous later in the day.

He said he saw rescuers pull the bodies of two climbers who died along the way.

After his successful ascent, “I hugged all the Sherpas and cried like a baby, I was so happy,” Magar said in a video released by his press office. “My life’s goal is to change people’s perception of disability. My life changed in the blink of an eye. But no matter what, you can still lead a fulfilling life.

“If a double above the knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb any mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard and put your all into it,” said he declared.

Magar was born in a remote mountain village in Nepal and was later recruited into the British Army as a Gurkha. He now lives with his family in Canterbury, England.

Hundreds of young Nepalese are recruited each year to work as Gurkha soldiers, known for their fighting skills and bravery.

In addition to dealing with his own disabilities, Magar also had to battle with legal issues because the Nepalese government banned people with disabilities from climbing high mountains. A case was filed in the Supreme Court, which overturned the ban, allowing Magar to proceed with his plan to climb Everest.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the government halted mountaineering, further delaying Magar’s plan.


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