3 Americans Killed In Nepal Earthquake That Left Thousands Dead Are Mourned By Friends & Family
The U.S. State Department has recently confirmed that three Americans were among the thousands killed by the Nepal earthquake, according to NBC News. The department hasn't officially released their names, but the names of two Americans, reportedly killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest that was triggered by the magnitude 7.8-earthquake near Kathmandu, have been released by people close to them. The confirmed Nepal death toll has now reached 2,500 people, according to the Associated Press, and aftershocks are still devastating areas around the capital. (Update: The death toll has now risen to over 3,800, and more than 6,000 people are thought to be injured.)
Madison Mountaineering, based in Seattle, said on its website that Marisa Eve Girawong was a camp medic who was killed when the avalanche hit her base camp, according to NBC. Jagged Globe, a U.K.-based Mount Everest tour company also confirmed that Google executive Dan Fredinburg was also killed in the avalanche, according to NBC News. The third man, Tom Taplin, was a Denver-born filmmaker making a documentary about the Mount Everest base camp when the avalanche hit, according to NBC.
Taplin's wife, Cory Freyer, who was home in Santa Monica, told NBC that she sent Taplin a text to make sure he was OK as soon as she heard about the earthquake. But Taplin's guide called her, and the first thing he said was "I'm so sorry." In an interview, she described Taplin as "a larger than life person":
It's shocking. All of his friends, and he has so many friends, every one of them is just devastated. Shocked.
Fredinburg, a California-based Google executive, had been scaling Everest for three weeks when the avalanche hit. Fredinburg's younger sister, Megan, wrote on Instagram that Fredinburg died from a head injury:
All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is everything to us.
According to NBC, Fredinburg was the head of privacy for the Google [x] innovation lab, and described himself as an "Inventor, Adventurer, and Energetic Engineer" on his Google+ page. Google released a statement Saturday upon confirmation of his death:
Sadly, we lost one of our own in this tragedy. ... Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, and with Dan's family and friends during this terrible time.
Actress Sophia Bush dated Fredinburg for two years and described him as "one-of-a-kind... fearless [and] funny." She released a statement on Twitter and Instagram:
Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all. He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man.
Girawong, the third victim, was a doctor at the Everest/Lhotse base camp for Madison Mountaineering, according to the New York Daily News. She was originally from Edison, New Jersey. The company released a statement and said their "hearts are broken." Girawong posted a funny update to Facebook just hours before she died, according to the Daily News:
Day 28 on this arduous journey, snow is falling and my food cravings are at an all time high ... Is a crunchy spicy tuna roll with eel sauce too much to ask for?
Madison Mountaineering founder Garrett Madison wrote on the company's website that he was climbing when the earthquake hit, and that he received the devastating news about Girawong's death upon reaching the base camp:
It was very hard on all of us. ... Our hearts go out to the family of Eve Girawong. She is loved by all of us in base camp and a great addition to our team and helped us tremendously. She will be missed greatly. We are very sorry for her loss.
Girawong's family has yet to release a statement. A total of 19 people were killed by the avalanche, and 61 people were injured, according to the Daily News. People around the world are paying tribute to the thousands of victims and lending their support.