IAN McKeever, an Irish mountaineer and charity fundraiser, has died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Ian McKeever, who was 42 and hailed from Lough Dan in Wicklow, was leading a group of climbers when they were struck by lightning.
However, Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander Robert Boaz could not deny or confirm the incident.
"I haven't been informed of the incident because I was in a meeting", the RPC told 'Daily News' yesterday over the phone. Information has it that Mr McKeever was leading members of the Kilimanjaro Achievers Team, a group of veteran climbers, to the top of the mountain.
In 2007, the adventurer scaled Mount Everest. He is also the former holder of a record for completing the seven highest peaks in the world at the fastest time - 32 days fewer than the previous record. In 2009, he was part of a team that attempted to row the South Atlantic Ocean in under 30 days, but his boat lost its rudder and the team was forced to postpone the attempt.
More recently he had been attempting, along with African climbing guide friend Samuel Kinsonga, to break the record for the fastest ascent of Kilimanjaro, as part of their anti-racism Black and White Makes Sense Campaign. Mr McKeever was the author of two books -- Give Me Shelter and Give Me Heroes -- and wasworking on a third book, Give Me 28 Days.
On his Facebook page on Wednesday night, a statement said: "It is with deep regret, that we, Ian's family, fiancee Anna and friends, announce his sudden death on Kilimanjaro, today, doing what he loved best." Mr McKeever had been posting messages on the site during the ascent of the mountain.
His last post, on Tuesday, said: "Shira 2, 4,000m. Torrential rain fell all day. Spirits remain good even if drying clothes is proving impossible! We pray for dryer weather tomorrow - the big day. It's the Lava Tower." It is understood that none of the other climbers suffered serious injuries.