Exec Killed in Everest Avalanche, Google Commits $1M to Response Efforts - NBC Bay Area

Exec Killed in Everest Avalanche, Google Commits $1M to Response Efforts

Google Exec Dies in Mount Everest Avalanche

A Google executive has been confirmed dead in an avalanche at Mount Everest triggered by a massive earthquake. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Sunday, April 26, 2015)

Google executive Dan Fredinburg was confirmed dead in an avalanche on Mount Everest which was triggered by a massive 7.8 earthquake in Nepal Saturday that claimed over 3,200 lives.

International Crisis Develops in Southeast Asia After 7.8 Nepal QuakeInternational Crisis Develops in Southeast Asia After 7.8 Nepal Quake

An international crisis is developing in Southeast Asia where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. As of Saturday night, the death toll continues to rise with at least 1,800 deaths reported. One of the victims is Google's executive engineer, Dan Fredinburg. We have team coverage. NBC Bay Area's Peggy Bunker, Terry McSweeney, and Kelly Cobiella report.
(Published Saturday, April 25, 2015)

Fredinburg, 33, was a privacy director on the Google X team, and was involved in projects such as the driverless car. He was climbing Mt. Everest with three other Googlers during the avalanche when he received a major head injury and passed away, his sister Megan wrote in an Instagram post.

"We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us," his sister wrote. "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."

Team Coverage: At Least 1,400 Dead in 7.8 Magnitude Nepal QuakeTeam Coverage: At Least 1,400 Dead in 7.8 Magnitude Nepal Quake

At least 1,400 people are dead after a large 7.8 earthquake in Nepal. On Saturday night, rescuers are searching through the rubble, looking for anyone still missing. NBC Bay Area has team coverage. NBC's Kelly Cobiella has the latest on what's happening in Nepal. Peggy Bunker reports on the death of a Google executive as a result of the quake. And Cheryl Hurd visited one non-profit that has been working with government officials in Nepal since the early 90s.
(Published Saturday, April 25, 2015)

Fredinburg's boss, Google privacy director Lawrence You, wrote that the Google Crisis Response team has launched a "Person Finder" for Nepal, and is working to update satellite images to help with the recovery effort.

Google is also committing $1 million to the response effort and plans to have gift-matching efforts available for their employees soon. "Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, and with Dan’s family and friends during this terrible time," You said. You added that the three other Googlers who were hiking Mt. Everest with Fredinburg are safe and Google is initiating efforts to bring them back to the U.S. safely.

Fredinburg's Instagram and Twitter page is filled with pictures and posts about his Everest trek. "I want everyone to think like Google [x] and have the heart of an adventurer," his Instagram page says. His last Twitter post is on April 24. "Day 22: Ice training with @michelebattelli means frequent stops for morning cappuccino," it says.

Actress Sophia Bush, who dated Fredinburg from 2013 to 2014, posted on instagram that the loss has left her with "no adequate words." "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," Bush wrote. "Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny."

 

There are no adequate words. 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. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so. 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. I'm devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him, and to have counted him as one of my tribe. I was so looking forward to our planned download of "all the things" when he got home. I am crushed that I will never hear that story. I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love. Disasters like this are often unquantifiable, the enormity is too much to understand. Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone's Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan. His energy is so big and so bright, and it's all around us, so put some love toward him today. And then hug your loved ones again. #goodbyesweetfriend #savetheice #Nepal

A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on

Bush described Fredinburg as a "a dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world." "His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so," she wrote.

Deadly Earthquake Rocks NepalDeadly Earthquake Rocks Nepal

Mike North, one of Friedenberg's closest friends, said that Friedenberg's passion was climate change. “He is the most incredible person I have ever met in my life,” North said. "His will to do anything is beyond anyone else’s I have ever seen."

North found out early Sunday that Fredinburg was killed in the avalanche triggered by the 7.8 earthquake. Fredinburg’s girlfriend broke the news. “It was pretty garbled but basically what I heard was that the avalanche had come to the camp," North said. "He seemed all right at first but then wasn’t and he ultimately passed away."

North said Fredinburg had "two Everests he had to climb on this trip." "The first Everest, which was the hardest, was getting Google to allow him to go climb Everest — the second, climbing Everest," he said.

Video footage shows Fredinburg zipping himself up in yellow North Face gear, as he gets ready for last year’s Mt. Everest trip. He can be heard saying: “This is how you get ready for Everest.” That trip was also a tragic one, because several of his sherpas died in the avalanche. “After that he went to an orphanage there — so this year he was planning to dedicate the climb to all the orphans," North said.

He also planned to plant a flag on top of Mount Everest with the word “NEAT” on it promoting his organization SaveTheIce.org, a goal he was not able to accomplish. "He was in his early 30s, so if you want to talk about lives affected, if he had been able to live a complete life, we could be talking about a billion lives that could be benefacted by this man,” North said.

Jagged Globe, the company that organized the Everest trek for Fredinburg and his team, issued a statement on the death of Fredinburg on their site.

The first of many private memorials for Fredinburg will be taking place Sunday.

 

Day 20: Saving ice on top of Kala Patthar. Everest Basecamp in the background is a climate change hotspot. #Savetheice

A photo posted by Dan Fredinburg (@danfredinburg) on

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