Europe

Irish climber Seamus Lawless missing after Everest ascent

Seamus Lawless Image copyright Trinity College
Image caption Séamus Lawless is an assistant professor at the School of Computer Science at Trinity College, Dublin

A County Wicklow man on a climbing expedition to Mount Everest has been reported missing.

Séamus Lawless, 39, from Bray, was part of a team of climbers who reached the peak on Thursday.

The search for Mr Lawless has become a recovery operation, the company that organised the climb told Irish broadcaster RTÉ .

Mr Lawless is an assistant professor at the School of Computer Science at Trinity College, Dublin.

It has been reported that he went missing at an altitude of 8,300 metres, in an area known as "the balcony", near the mountain's summit.

'Distressing time'

Mingma Sherpa, the owner of Seven Summits Treks which organised the trip, told RTÉ: "It is a very difficult situation. We are searching for a body."

He said that conditions descending the mountain were "very good" but that Mr Lawless appears to have fallen accidentally.

The GPS worn by Mr Lawless has been found almost 500m from where he fell, but experts have said it is possible the device became detached.

Staff at Trinity College issued a statement expressing concern for their colleague.

"Séamus and his family are in our thoughts during this extremely distressing time," said a statement from the university.

"This morning his family, friends and colleagues shared his joy on reaching the peak of Mount Everest.

"We hope that Seamus is found safely as soon as possible and until then we will be offering any support we can to his family."

The university had earlier tweeted congratulations to Mr Lawless after he reached the peak of Everest on Thursday.