Mount Everest claims another life

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- An Indian climber who had fallen sick and was being helped down Mount Everest has died, becoming the third to die in recent days while attempting to scale the world's tallest peak, an expedition organizer said Monday.

Subhash Paul died overnight as he was being helped down the mountain by Sherpa guides, said Wangchu Sherpa of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency in Kathmandu.

Two climbers die within days of each other on Mt. Everest

Two other Indian members of Paul's team -- Paresh Nath and Goutam Ghosh -- have been missing since Saturday. Sherpa said it was unlikely they would be able to survive Everest's hostile conditions.

An officer in the Indian Army, Maj. Mirza Zahid, who is at Mt. Everest Base Camp leading a team of soliders also attempting the summit the mountain, told CBS News on Monday that the bodies of Nath and Ghosh had also been found. If confirmed, their deaths would bring to five number of climbers killed in just four days.

Another team member who had fallen sick, an Indian woman identified as Sunita Hazra, was resting at a camp at a safer altitude after being brought down.

A Dutch man died Friday and an Australian woman died hours later after suffering from altitude sickness on Everest. Dozens of other climbers have developed frostbite or become sick near the summit in recent days.

Favorable weather has allowed nearly 400 climbers to reach the summit from Nepal since May 11, but the altitude, weather and harsh terrain can cause problems at any time.

Take a tour of a Mount Everest base camp

Thousands of people have summited 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest since it was first conquered by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. But more than 250 people have died in the attempt.

Trekking companies were anxious to see foreign climbers return to Everest after two years of disasters. Last year, Nepal's devastating earthquake caused the climbing season to be canceled, and climbing attempts were largely abandoned in 2014 after an avalanche above the base camp killed 16 Sherpa guides.

Experts say some of the tragedy of late may have been avoidable.

Poor planning and overcrowding on the world's tallest peak may have led to bottlenecks that kept people delayed at the highest reaches while waiting for the path to clear lower down, Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said Monday.

"This was a man-made disaster that may have been minimized with better management of the teams," he said. "The last two disasters on Everest were caused by nature, but not this one."

Many had hoped this year's climbing season would bring success and restore confidence in the route, after deadly disasters canceled climbing the previous two years.

But as hundreds of eager climbers, joined by local Sherpa guides and expedition experts, scrambled to take advantage of good weather to make it to the peak, the reports of tragedy began trickling down the mountain.