The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Death on Mount Kilimanjaro: Singaporean Family wants to know what exactly happened to their son

The family of Mr Darrel Phee, the Singaporean Bank Executive who died last week on Mount Kilimanjaro is seeking answers on the circumstances leading to his death.

Reports from the travel agency which handled the mountaineering expedition, say the late Phee died from acute altitude sickness.

However, his aunt, Madam Adelyn Phui told reporters back home that the family is not convinced, pushing for further investigations.

The body of the 28-year-old Phee who was a bank executive, has already been flown from Tanzania back to Singapore.

Speaking at Changi Airport, his aunt, Madam Adelyn Phui said her family was devastated by the news of the climber’s death.

Mr Phee’s mother was also at the airport but did not speak to the media.

The deceased’s aunt said they received a call from an employee of expedition group Adventures Unlimited describing Mr Phee’s ordeal but without being very clear.

They flew to Tanzania thinking their son was sick and needed help, but it turned out that he was already dead.

The Singaporean died on Aug 9 from health complications due to altitude sickness after attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Local tour operator said the deceased had appeared to be well following his return to camp the day before, said a Tanzanian tour operator.

Channel News Asia (CNA) interviewed the founder and director of the tour company which handled Darrel Phee’s journey to the mountain.

The Late Darrel from Singapore who died during an expedition on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Mathew Jacky Mollel, the man behind Wild Root Safaris and Adventures, said that Mr Darrel Phee had started feeling unwell on Aug 8, the day the tour group was due to summit the mountain.

The expedition was supposed to take place from Aug 3 to Aug 11, 2023.

Mollel claimed that the Singaporean was forced to return to the campsite with a guide and upon being examined he was found to be okay and even managed to have dinner.

However at about 6.00 am Mr Phee was discovered collapsed in a bathroom by a mountain guide.

Adventures Unlimited, which is a Singapore travel agency, posted on their Facebook page on early August 12 saying ‘we received the sad news of a tragedy which had happened during the Kilimanjaro trek!’

“One of our team members, Mr Darrel Phee, lost his life during the expedition. The man was 28 years old.” The Post read.

“Mr Phee’s readings and symptoms have been normal throughout the days of the hike”, added the post.

“However, on the morning of the summit hike, his oxygen levels dropped and his heart rate increased.”

According to Adventures Unlimited, it was then decided that he would not scale the mountain and he returned to the campsite with a guide, as per safety protocols.

At the campsite, Mr Phee was closely monitored, before being transported to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center.

“Unfortunately due to the onset of altitude sickness and its serious health complications, his condition deteriorated and he passed away,” Adventures Unlimited said in its Facebook post.

“He died of asphyxia and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE),” it added.

But the late Phee’s family is not convinced; they claim that there are discrepancies between the documents they obtained and the information they received from Adventures Unlimited.

According to the aunt, the family members are now going through Mr Phee’s belongings, which have been sent home, to search for clues on his phone and the altitude readings on his altimeter watch.

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