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  Everest 2006: The investigation into the death of David Sharp: The Turkish Expedition speaks in detail

The Rock Cave on Everest ©EverestNews.com

EverestNews.com has asked the Turkish team several questions regarding the events of May 14 and David Sharp. Serhan Pocan, the leader of the Turkish expedition asked that he discuss the events with his climbers and get back to us with details, rather than just answer possibly incompletely or incorrectly. Below are his answers to many questions....

First the brief story, in EverestNews.com tradition UNEDITED except for fixing a few spelling errors...

This is the story of Everest Turkish Team on May 15th; if you need further details please ask.  At that attempt our team was 7 climbers and nine sherpas, rest 3 team members were turned back to ABC as they had some coughing problems.

We left 8300 at 10:30pm . Bora and I were trying to summit without oxygen at the beginning. Rest five were using oxygen. So we two were very slow and left apart from the team. The first group was not also moving together. Some climbed faster then the others.

The first group met David around midnight . They saw him sitting in front of the cave next to dead Indian climber. Eylem Elif Mavis, Serkan Girgin and two sherpas were the first group. One of the sherpa spoke to him and told him not to sit and to go. But he refused the suggestion with body language. They were not aware that he was going up or down and they assumed that he was resting on the way as many others do. Elif and Serkan stated later that they did not observe anything strange about him.

The next group, 3 climbers and 4 sherpas of our team met David about 20 minutes later. That time David was laying down just next to the Indian body. He was not moving. They all thought he was a dead body just like Indian, none of them knew the exact number of the bodies on the route.

Last two climbers were me and Bora and 3 sherpa. David was still laying. I showed his new shoes to sherpas. Their command was like 'he was a newly dead body'. They thought we will learn who he was when we were back in ABC. We completely had no doubt. He was a dead body for us while we were climbing up.

Just before the sunrise we (Bora and I) got a radio message about the problem Burcak had faced. At that time we both turned to oxygen. I skip the details about the Burcak's (my wife) case. I first send a radio message to the rest of the team that we cancelled the climb and I call all my 4 friends back at 8600. But soon after we realised that Bora, me and 2 sherpas were enough to evacuate Burcak. Burcak was getting better. So we changed the decision. The first four and sherpas proceed to the summit. Bora, me, Burcak and 2 sherpas began decending to 8300.

When we came to the cave on the way back. It was about 7:00am . Burcak was belayed both from back and front. I was coming from back. I was really shocked at that moment, because I immediately realised that Davids' arm moved. I was really got afraid. Burcak was ok at that moment. And two sherpas were enough to assist her go down. So Bora and I left our group and stayed with David. We made him upright. Tried to give him some hot drink but he couldn't drink it. His nose was completely frozen deep inside. His hand was frozen as a rock also. He was able to open his eyes but couldn't say anything. We tried to find out who he is. I checked his oxygen. The gauge was '0'. At that moment I realised that Bora and I was using oxygen for a very long time. I checked Bora's gauge. It was just above '0'. The only way was to catch the sherpas with Burcak. Bora stayed with David trying to help him drink and move. I went down to change my tube and bring a new one to Bora. When I met the sherpas they were busy with Burcak. Burcak was still dizzy, and this was causing big problems at that altitude and at that narrow path. Sherpas needed our help. So I first called Bora to asist Burcak's evacuation then radioed the friends coming back from the summit and informed them about David. Bora and I proceed to go down with Burcak and the sherpas.

When rest of the team arrived to cave David was still laying down. Soner, Lakhpa and one sherpa from Russel Brice expedition tried to make David move. Russell Brice's sherpa had an extra oxygen they used it to make him awake. But those also didn't help to make him walk.

When Soner informed me over radio. I realised that they have nothing to do more. And I called him down.

After that I asked for help over the radio (the general frequency 144.5) many many times. I did not get any response.

When we were planning the evacuation of Burcak. We had asked for help from the Chinese expedition. 4 Tibetan guides were on the way towards us.  We planned to request help from them for David. But unfortunately 2 of them could only reach about 7900 and other 2 only 8300. This was normal because they were very tired as they summited previous day. 

At that point I realised the truth that we had lost another climber on Everest. David was hardly breathing, he was unconscious, had serious frostbites and had gone through a hypothermic phase. This was the case of the casualty, for the rescue part; there was no extra oxygen left, seemed no possibility to receive more Sherpas for help, my team was occupied with Burcak's case (although they all tried to help David as far as they could) and I couldn't had managed to reach the other teams from he radio.

It was about 11:00am when I announced my team that there weren't anything left to do for the casualty (during all these time none of my team members knew who that body belonged and whether he was climbing up or down). Serhan Pocan 

So the Turkish are stating that when they first arrived at David he was sitting upright and "they did not observe anything strange about him."

We asked a series of questions: Here is the Q&A:

Q. EverestNews.com: Was Max from Himex ahead of your first group (Eylem Elif Ma v is, Serkan Girgin)?  Were others ahead of them?

A. Serhan Pocan: "All the HIMEX group was ahead of all our groups. I don't know specifically where Max was."

Q. EverestNews.com: On the way down did you or any of your others climbers see anyone else helping David except what you have stated?

A. Serhan Pocan: "No, only [the one] Himex sherpa as I've stated"

Q. EverestNews.com: When you talk time, are you speaking Tibet time, Chinese Time, Nepal time, or Turkish time?

A. Serhan Pocan: " Nepal time."

Q. EverestNews.com:  On the way down, who was directly ahead of your group [the group he was in] if you know? Were they descending from the summit or did they turn around?

A. Serhan Pocan: "There were single climbers around. I am not sure but most probably they did not reach the summit."

Q. EverestNews.com: Did anyone from your group at any time ON THE WAY UP see anyone else from OTHER groups helping David Sharp? If so who and when?

A. Serhan Pocan: "No we did not see any body helping David on the way up."

Q. EverestNews.com: Did anyone take pictures of David while he was alive ? (we don't publish pictures of dead climbers)

A. Serhan Pocan: "We did not. I don't know if someone else did. I just only heard that someone filmed him, but that's not our team. "

Q. EverestNews.com: Another person reported that Dawa Sherpa from your expedition attempted to help David Sharp on the way up… Arun treks have not confirmed this only saying they saw David and keep going…

A. Serhan Pocan: No, I was very close to Dawa on the way up while passing through David. In fact he showed me David. I asked him whether he is a known dead body. He said he did not know the route of Everest he asked same question to the sherpas with us (Fruwatembea which we called Lama ) They said previously there were only Indian body and this new body should be this years event. I showed them the new boots he was wearing. Then we were sure that he was dead a few days before and Dawa told me; 'at the ABC we will learn who he is'. And this was the last thing we talked. Then we proceed on our way.

Q. EverestNews.com: Do you know if any of your Sherpas helped him on the way up ? ( I think you have already answered this no…, but just want to confirm)…

A. Serhan Pocan: No. Nima sherpa who was climbing with Elif warned him on the way up. He told him not sit but to go down. But this can't be considered as help because David was OK at that moment. He was busy with his bag.

Q. EverestNews.com: Do you know if a Dawa Sherpa helped David on the way down?? (somewhat confusing here in that Dawa Sherpa did not summit, also Arun does not say he helped…)

A. Serhan Pocan:  As I mentioned before. Furuwatemba (Lama), Dawa, Burcak, Bora and  I were decending together with this order and close to each other. When we arrive to cave, Lama, Burcak and Dawa did not stop. They were dealing with Burcak and proceed going down. Bora and I spend sometime with David (I've written the details of this)

Q. EverestNews.com: What were the names of the Sherpas in your group who was with this group who meet David at around midnight?

A. Serhan Pocan: Sherpas were always going up and down, One was for sure Nima. Kami was mostly with Serkan Girgin so he should be there. But Lakpa sherpa was moving rapidly. He might be there also. So although I wrote two at that time they might be three.

Q. EverestNews.com: Was anyone with David at this time midnight (from your story, it sounds like there was no one ), but just what to make sure..

A. Serhan Pocan: At the moment they were talking to David there were no one else.

Q. EverestNews.com: Was David wearing his oxygen mask? (at midnight )

A. Serhan Pocan: "Both of them not sure about whether he has a mask or not. The only thing Serkan remembered was he was busy with his bag. And the thin gloves he was wearing was strange to them. Serkan said he thought that man sitting was a sherpa rather then a European. Because only the shoes were new and good shape rest of his suite was poor. '

Eylem Elif Mavis, Serkan Girgin and two sherpas were the first group. One of the sherpa spoke to him and told him not to sit and to go. But he refused the suggestion with body language. They were not aware that he was going up or down and they assumed that he was resting on the way as many others do. Elif and Serkan stated later that they did not observe anything strange about him.

Q. EverestNews.com: How did they pass him? Meaning did they have to unclip from the rope? Or how did they get around him?

A. Serhan Pocan: David was already unclipped himself. He was not blocking the path cave is a bit aside of the path.

Q. EverestNews.com: The descent: did he have his mask on?

A. Serhan Pocan: No, I am sure because the first thing I noticed was the huge ice coming through his nose.

Q. EverestNews.com: Was David talking at this point? Any idea how long they gave him oxygen?

A. Serhan Pocan: They not only give oxygen but tried to move him. First they repaired the mask. Because all the tubes connecting mask was full of ice. And mask itself was frozen and not fitted to his face. Lakpa hit slowly all his body to provide circulation. They stand him up pulling from his harness. Soner was not sure how much time they spend. But he said they worked a lot. He was trying to talk but no clear words.

A. Serhan Pocan continues...

1- To make things clear. 2006 Everest Turkish expedition was a national team expedition. And I was the leader of  that expedition. So our expedition was not an commercial or international or national but joint expedition. And Arun trek was only providing sherpas and kitchen work for us. Arun at the same time has other international expeditions. But they are different from our group. When I say someone is from our group I mean only my team (Turkish team) not the rest of the Arun climbers.

2- Eylem Elif Mavis is a lady from our (Turkish) team.

Q. EverestNews.com: Tim Smith from the Himex team.. has stating the following in his press release…. "Well after 2 months of climbing we pushed for the summit of everest on may 15th, an extremely cold day.  My team left Camp 4 at 10:00PM and myself and Lakpa Sherpa pulled out of our tent at 11:00PM after clipping into the rope we realised we were stuck behind a team from Turkey and when we arrived at the second step (a very technical section) at about 8300 Metres.  We were held up for an hour behind some inexperienced Turkish climbers, putting us far behind the rest of our team.  One of the Turkish climbers suffered a seizure on the second step and had to be evacuated off the mountain, making us susceptible to the extreme low temperatures at high altitude and putting us at risk for frost bite and missing our summit attempt. After finally getting past the second step with loss of feeling in my toes we pressed on passing two dead climbers in a cave"...

[Editorial Note: "The cave" where David Sharp froze to death is NOT above the Second Step. EverestNews.com attempted several times to interview Tim. But we only received this press release from him which contains this major factual error.... We currently have several questions into him, hopefully he will talk and answer in full as the Turkish have...]

Tim's press release goes on to say: "After descending from 8757 Metres, we heard a radio call from Max, a teammate of mine informing our team leader, Russel Brice that one of the presumed dead climbers was now in fact alive and shaking.  When we arrived, Purba Tashi and Lakpa Sherpa pulled him out of the cave and gave him a fresh bottle of oxygen.  They tried to stand him up, however his legs were frozen solid and a rescue was not concievable"....

Q. EverestNews.com: So could of, Tim Smith and his Sherpa" been behind the Turkish climbers at the cave [which is below the Second Step as the Turisk leader knows] or do you think the Turkish climbers passed him and he was therefore behind some of your climbers at the Second Step??? Or ?? what do you make of his statement?? Any ideas??

A. Serhan Pocan: About Tim Smith; There are a few bottlenecks on the north side of Everest.  First, second and third steps. And a couple of steep places. On the rest of the route it is very easy to pass someone. So if someone's performance is OK it is impossible to be stucked because of some other people. Moreover, it took hours to go from camp 3 to second step. I couldn't understand why he waited at the back till second step.

Near second step while we (Bora, me and two of our sherpas) were trying to approach to our collapsed friend Burcak, we met two climbers. They were not together. Two separate climbers. We warned each of them to turn back. They seemed really bad. I don't know who they were and where were they from. So nobody was behind Burcak at the second step that time. All the HIMEX group had already passed her. Tim could be one of these sick people I think. And moreover Burcak was taken aside (released from the rope) quickly by the sherpas. So she did not block the route.

And a small note. That 'inexperienced' girl summitted Everest only 9 days later directly from ABC, without having a rest at BC.

A. Serhan Pocan contiues... As I stated before;

Three different groups from my team tried to help David.

First group tried to give him hot water, checked his equipment and report the situation over the radio. But first group could not do much because we were busy with our own evacuation (rescue operation of Burcak). This group consists of Me and Bora

Our second group that helped David was  Eylem Elif Mavis (from our team) and Nima sherpa (One of our sherpas). They tried to give him oxygen. But  his mask was frozen so they clean the ice from the mask. Tried  to give some oxygen.  But had to left David as their oxygen was going down to zero.

Third group was the one that taken David [out] of the cave. They were Soner Buyukatalay (from our team), Lakhpa (our sherpa) and another sherpa That sherpa was Mark Inglis' sherpa, I am not sure but most probably his name was Phurba. No body else were there. I just called my friend Soner to check once more. This was the case.

Times are not accurate; [but around]

1st group around 7:00 am Nepalese
2nd group around 8:30 am Nepalese
3rd group around 11:00 am Nepalese

I don't know who Max is. When we were passing (I mean three of our groups) no body else were there. Only the sherpas that I stated.

Earlier update: Everest 2006: The investigation into the death of David Sharp

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