A deadly avalanche has caused the Discovery Channel to cancel its live Mount Everest jump. The special was to feature Joby Ogywn as he jumped off the top of the mountain and glided down the side. The Discovery Channel released a statement that it was cancelling the show out of respect for the families affected by the tragedy. The avalanche took the lives of 13 people and three people are still considered missing.
An avalanche of more than 20,000 feet hit a large group of about 50 people on Friday. The avalanche happened just above the camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall while the guides and climbers were setting up the ropes for the route. The camps along the route were being prepared with food and supplies when the avalanche hit.
Two survivors said that they were attached to a safety line and were able to hide behind a piece of ice while the avalanche came down. They said that they were at the front of the line and that is what kept them safe. They said that the 12 people behind them were also able to stay safe, but the people at the end of the team were not able to survive.
All of those involved in the avalanche were from Nepali’s Sherpa community. Sherpa acts as a tourist town that often supplies visitors with equipment, food, and transportation. Many people from Sherpa earn income by becoming climbing guides that take people up Mount Everest. Many of the people that died during the avalanche were family members and friends of those in Sherpa.
The deaths of the Sherpa family members may have played a part in the cancellation of the Mount Everest jump. The Sherpas are unsure how long they are willing to wait to return to guide people up the mountain. One Sherpa guide has said that the guides and the clients have not talked about going up the mountain and that it could take a week or longer before anyone tries to reach the top of Mount Everest.
Before the tragic incident, it was announced in February that Joby Ogywn was going to climb the summit of Mount Everest and jump off the top. Ogywn was going to use a wing suit to glide safely down to lower ground. The special event had been planned for months and it was sure to have been a huge hit. A similar special Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda ran in June and gained an audience of of 13 million. That show was also a Twitter sensation as it was tweeted about a million times during the broadcast.
Ogwyn was at Mount Everest throughout the week and took to Facebook to offer his condolences to the victims. He wrote that he was safe at camp, but that he had lost his Sherpa team in the avalanche. Before Ogywn’s was going to jump, the Discovery channel had planned to broadcast five live events with the title Everest: Live From Base Camp. Willie Geist of NBC News was supposed to host the specials and Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel would have broadcasted from New York with the latest Mount Everest weather conditions.
An unfortunate incident caused the cancellation of a jump from the top of Mount Everest. Joby Ogywn has already said that he would like to try the jump again and honor the people who were to have been his guide up the mountain. The Discovery Channel has not yet commented beyond the cancellation.
By Raul Hernandez