A Nepal earthquake survivor from San Francisco who had gone halfway around the world to raise money for charity had a happy homecoming on Monday morning, hugging her family and describing an avalanche that made everything seem to disappear.
Siobhan McFeeney, 43-year-old adventurer and mother of four, was among many climbers stranded on Mount Everest after the earthquake struck.
The quake set off a series of avalanches that killed at least 18 people trying to summit the world’s tallest peak. The overall death toll of the quake, however, had risen past 7,040 on Saturday. She was there, on a ladder, on one of the most dangerous portions of Mount Everest when the earth began to violently shake.
McFeeney, the former interim-CEO of AAA Northern California, had been attempting the climb to raise money for Water For Nepal, a charity founded by McFeeney and her husband, Terry Trevino.
The team of climbers were tackling the Khumbu Icefall, widely regarded as one of the most dangerous parts of the climb, when the earthquake hit on April 25.
"We were on the ladders when an avalanche came down in the icefall, and everything around us just disappeared," McFeeney told NBC Bay Area in an interview Monday morning after landing safely at San Francisco International Airport. She walked off the plane with a beaming smile on her face, and immediately embraced her family.
“Siobhan said she just held on for dear life,” said Trevino, who didn't hear from his wife for over two hours after the quake, which he described as a "gutwrenching" period of time. “She told me what happened and how everything fell around them," he said. " I knew there was some divine intervention at that point.”
McFeeney was eventually rescued by helicopters.
So what's next for McFeeney and her family?
"Let's go climb Mt. Rainier," joked her 11-year-old son Cieran, a fellow climbing enthusiast, as his siblings, 9-year-old Sinead, 7-year-old Ronan, and 5-year-old Soairse, stood by.
All joking aside, "I think we'll just hang out at home, it'll be nice and quiet," McFeeney said. "Maybe avoid risk for a while. I don't think I'll be going back any time soon."