Marisa Eve Girawong, 28, was the base camp doctor for the Seattle, Washington-based Madison Mountaineering team, according to the company’s website.
The company posted on its blog:
It is with deep sorrow and profound grief that we can confirm the loss of our Everest/Lhotse base camp doctor, Marisa Eve Girawong. Eve perished in the aftermath of the avalanche that struck the base camp area following the devastating Nepal earthquake earlier today.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Eve and her family and friends.
Two other Americans, Google executive Dan Fredinburg and filmmaker Tom Taplin, were also killed in the avalanche. At least 17 people, including Girawong and Fredinburg, were killed at Mount Everest, according to The Guardian.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Girawong Posted on Facebook Hours Before Her Death
Girawong has been documenting on social media her time at Mount Everest since she arrived there with the Madison Mountaineering team in March. She made a final post on Facebook hours before her death:
Day 28 on this arduous journey , snow is falling & my food cravings are at an all time high…Is a crunchy spicy tuna roll with eel sauce too much to ask for?
2. She Became Involved in Expedition Medicine in 2013
According to the Seattle-based company she worked for, Madison Mountaineering, she has been involved in expedition medicine since 2013. Her company bio states:
Since 2013, she has been involved in expedition medicine training in Scotland as well as participating in wilderness medicine in the Everest Region since 2014. She is an avid indoor and outdoor rock climber for several years and, as a mountaineer, has successfully reached the summits of Mt. Washington and Mt. Rainier.
3. She Was Studying Mountain Medicine at the University of Leicester
According to Madison Mountaineering, Girawong, originally from Edison, New Jersey, was working toward a Master’s degree in mountain medicine at the University of Leicester in England.
She earned her undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2009, completed physician assistant studies at St. Francis University and the John Stronger Hospital in Chicago and received her Master’s degree in medical science from St. Francis University in 2012, according to her LinkedIn page.
Girawong previously worked in the emergency room at East Orange General Hospital in New Jersey as a physician assistant, according to her LinkedIn page.
“East Orange General Hospital extends our deepest sympathy and prayers to the people of Nepal and the family of Marisa Eve Girawong who previously worked as a physician assistant in our emergency room,” said Suzette Robinson, vice president of external affairs at East Orange General Hospital in a statement posted by MyCentralJersey.com. “We are saddened by the loss of Marisa and the nearly 2,000 people who died as a result of this earthquake that left behind mass devastation and staggering levels of damage.”
4. The Base Camp Was 40 to 50 Percent Destroyed By the Avalanche, a Survivor Says
A Denver-based mountaineer, Joe Kedrowski, posted an update on the base camp on his blog.
He said the camp was 40 to 50 percent gone with those injured having wounds similar to when a tornado hits. He wrote on the blog about what happened when compressed air created by the chunks of snow and ice created by the avalanche were released:
The release of this air and pressure was similar to a whoopee cushion or balloon. The air blast was concentrated towards the tents in the central portion of Everest Basecamp. Hurricane force wind from the blast completely pulverized and blew the camp away. Some Duffels from Expedition members were tossed for more than a football field’s length. Expedition boots, dining tent frames, and ice axes were tossed far across the glacier too. Right now 20-plus people are injured and the death toll is 8-20 people, but that may increase. Many of the injuries were similar to ones you might see in the Midwest when a tornado hits, with contusions and lacerations from flying debris. Head Injuries, broken legs, internal injuries, impalements also happened to people. Some people were picked up and tossed across the glacier for a hundred yards. People that took refuge in tents turned out to be the unlucky ones…..only a few feet away if a person hid behind a rock or a ice bank they escaped unharmed. People in tents were wrapped up in them, lifted by the force of the blast and then slammed down onto rocks, glacial moraine and ice on the glacier. Such an unbelievable force of wind and compressed air from the falling ice seracs and snow, it’s very hard to wrap my head around it.
5. The Earthquake Killed More Than 2,000 People in Nepal & the Region
The death toll in Nepal and the surrounding region continues to rise. As of April 26, one day after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck, more than 2,400 were reported dead, according to the New York Times. Nearly 6,000 were injured.