Criminal Charges brought against Everest Guide in the UKPosted: July 15, 2008
The Yorkshire Post UK, Everest killing charge , reported on what appears to be the extreme result of frustration, anger and loss. The father of a climber lost on Everest in 1999 has brought criminal charges against three of the outfitters and guides on the climb. David Matthews’s, 62, millionaire father of the missing and presumed dead Michael Matthews, 22, an Everest summiter, brought the prosecution. Charged where Jonathan Tinker, Henry Todd and Michael Smith with unlawfully killing and manslaughter in Central Criminal Court, London. The charges were eventually dismissed by the court. (See Everest verdict that frees the mountain.)
Michael Matthews disappeared as he was descending from the summit in 100 mile per hour winds. Mr. Matthews has also sued the outfitter and guides in this matter. The civil lawsuit is still pending in the US.
As most readers to this blog know, any mountain holds the lives of the climbers on its flanks and consequently the lives of those relatives sitting at home. Those who tackle these mountains accept that risk, in fact thrill in revel in it. However families at home may or may not understand both the risk and our acceptance of it.
Complicate this lack of understanding of the motivation with the question what happened? We have grown up learning each day how our world works. Green cheese once formed the moon we then saw a rock that came from the moon. Transplanting hearts from the dead to the living was the subject of movies and nightmares; today there is someone in every community who lives because of it. Yet, how and why someone dies on the summit of Everest, at least for now is a mystery. We can speculate based on those who have come close and survived as well as the research done by our scientist, but we want a body and we want to know why and how a loved one died.
My father had a large life insurance policy on me for many years. He figured half would go to get my body home. I never cared and told him to spend the money, rather than bring me home but he said “your mother would insist on it.”
At what point do those unanswered questions require an answer so badly that we not only sue someone, but we have them charged criminally. At what point does the loss of a loved one, require the destruction of the people the deceased wanted to spend time with. No more answers are going to be forthcoming. No answers at all will be found in either the criminal or civil courtroom. In fact, rarely are any answers found in court.
This lawsuit and these criminal charges will bring no satisfaction and no answers. At best it may create some level of retribution, possibly justice to the father when it is done, but even that is doubtful. At some point in life, you just must accept the fact that a loved one lived and died doing what they enjoyed and accept as much comfort as you can from that.