A renowned Northern Irish climber has died during an expedition in Nepal. Noel Hanna, 56, is believed to have died in a camp while descending from the top of the treacherous Annapurna range, the 10th highest mountain in the world. Mr Hanna, from Dromara in County Down, had climbed Mount Everest 10 times in his lifetime.
According to local reports, he climbed the 8,091 m (26,545 ft) peak on Monday and died overnight. Later, his body was flown to the capital, Kathmandu. Hannah’s sister said that her brother “loved the view and loved the people” and that he was “a legend.”
Noel Hanna Dies during an expedition in Nepal
Asked if the family knew of the dangers they faced, Irene Hunter added: “He didn’t really say too much, he didn’t want to worry us all.” She added that Mr. Hanna’s body would be returned to Finnis, near the Morne Mountains, where he started climbing. Pat Falvey, a friend of the climber, said he was believed to have died after returning from the top of the mountain.
“I received a text message from my people in Kathmandu … that Noel had passed away,” he said. “He was one of the most incredible climbers, not just in Ireland, but in the world. “His love and passion of his were to climb big mountains.
“It was, as a friend of mine once quoted, his cathedral, it was where he went to pray.” Reports suggest that a second climber from India who had gone missing after falling into a crevasse has been found alive. Morne Mountain Adventures, a Kilkeel-based guided tour company, has paid tribute to Mr. Hanna.
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In a social media post, the company said: “Very saddened by the passing of Noel Hanna this morning, Mournes local Noel was the first person from Ireland to successfully climb K2, and an astonishingly scaled summit of Everest 10 times. . .
“There is some peace in the fact that he spent his last moments doing what he loved most, a great man and one of the best mountaineers in N.Ireland. “I had the pleasure of interviewing Noel on two occasions, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
“My condolences go out to his wife Lynn and the rest of his family, RIP Noel.” Ulster Rugby head coach Dan McFarland tweeted: “Very sad to learn of Noel’s passing. Noel was a great inspiration for this team.
“All our thoughts are with the family of Lynne and Noel.”
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