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July 19, 2016

Gugu Zulu 'Should Have Turned Back", Experts Say
by Nomahlubi Jordaan

Gugu Zulu should not have continued his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro after complaining of flu-like symptoms. Climbing experts told TMG Digital on Tuesday that flu-like symptoms were a cause for serious concern at high altitude.

Zulu died while taking part on the Trek4Mandela expedition on Mount Kilimanjaro. He complained of having flu-like symptoms on Saturday and posted on his Instagram account that he was “struggling with the mountain”.

The next day‚ he continued walking and was photographed getting acclimatised. Hours later he required medical treatment for breathing difficulties.

Climbing experts suspect that Zulu could have succumbed to altitude sickness – although the cause of death is yet to be confirmed - also known as pulmonary oedema‚ which they say is a common cause of death on high mountains. The Nelson Mandela Foundation said on Tuesday said that it did not have any details about the cause of death.

“Any such [flu-like] symptoms are a cause for concern whilst at altitude‚” explained Justin Lawson‚ a mountain guide from Climbing ZA.

“If you have symptoms of mild AMS (acute mountain sickness)‚ then you should not go any higher for 24 to 48 hours. If the symptoms do not improve or get worse‚ then you should descend immediately‚” he said.

“… he should have turned around sooner. However‚ it should be noted that it is very common for climbers to get symptoms associated with acute mountain sickness at some point during their climb‚” said Adam Collins‚ expedition coordinator at Ultimate Kilimanjaro.

“So it is really a question of what degree of acute mountain sickness Zulu experienced‚ and what was done to prevent‚ identify‚ and treat altitude related illnesses‚” he said.

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