Superfit mountaineering father-of-two, 54, was killed by altitude on ‘adventure of a lifetime’ Everest trek, inquest hears
- Kellinu Portelli, 54, was found dead a the base camp while trekking Himalayas
- He was found dead in bed after his oxygen levels plummeted from high altitude
- British hiker, 54, dies while climbing Everest on ‘the adventure of a lifetime’
A superfit father-of-two was found dead in bed on a charity trek of Everest, an inquest heard.
Outdoor-lover, Kellinu Portelli, 54, set off from Britain for the 4,5000 mile trip for the ‘adventure of a lifetime’ trekking around the Himalayas.
He was raising money for a cancer charity when he was found dead in bed by his guide – because his oxygens levels dropped in the high altitude.
An inquest heard the pair arrived at the Himalayan Chain Resorts hotel in Lobuche – described as ‘one of the highest settlements on earth’ – the day before his death.
Father-of-two Kellinu Portelli, 54, (pictured) was trekking around the Himalayas for a cancer charity when he was found dead at the base camp
Kellinu pictured, left, after arriving at Lukla airport in eastern Nepal
But tragedy struck when Kellinu was found dead in bed after his oxygen levels plummeted at the hotel following days of trekking at high altitude.
The inquest heard marathon runner Kellinu had spent the afternoon watching Wales play South Africa in rugby at the resort which sits at an altitude of 4910m.
His guide and expert mountaineer Dawa Lama Tamang checked Kellinu’s oxygen levels which gave a reading of just 60 – an ideal level is over 95 per cent.
Mr Tamang said he offered to arrange a descent for Kellinu after checking in at 2.30pm on October 28, 2019, but he said he assured him he was ‘all right..’
He was raising money for a cancer charity when he was found dead in bed by his guide after his oxygen levels plummeted at the hotel following days of trekking at high altitude
The inquest heard Kellinu spoke to his wife Donna, 54, when he told her he was ‘quite tired’ before mentioning his oxygen levels.
In a statement, Donna said her husband ‘assured me he was ok’ but she was concerned he was dehydrated after he mentioned he had not been to the toilet that day.
She said: ‘Although he seemed tired he seemed otherwise fine and in good spirits.’
The inquest heard the alarm was raised with the family when Mr Tamang sent an email to break the devastating news.
Mr Tamang told the family that he had taken Kellinu’s oxygen reading again later in the afternoon which gave a reading of 62.
Kellinu spoke to his wife Donna, 54, when he told her he was ‘quite tired’ before mentioning his oxygen levels
He said: ‘I asked him if he would like to descend but he said he was all right.’
The inquest heard Kellinu ‘excused himself for bed’ at 8pm before Mr Tamang attempted to wake him up early the next morning.
Mr Tamang said: ‘I went straight to Kellinu’s room and knocked on his door repeatedly but there was no response.
‘We burst open the window only to find Kellinu lying peacefully and he seemed to have died.’
The inquest heard a post mortem examination carried out in Nepal found no alcohol in his system and no suspicious circumstance.
Pathologist Dr Stephen Leadbeatter gave a cause of death as high altitude pulmonary edema.
Kell, from Leckwith, Cardiff, was flown by helicopter to hospital in Kathmandu but was dead on arrival
His wife Donna said: ‘Kellinu was one of the most passionate men I have ever met. He was passionate about his family and his friends’
The inquest heard Kellinu, who had spent months training for the trek, was a keen runner who had completed up to seven marathons.
He trained for the challenge by putting weights in his rucksack before running up Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
Kellinu attended his annual medical check-up before setting off and was told by doctors he had the lung capacity of a 30-year-old.
The inquest heard he shared a series of positive social media posts during the climb as he updated loved ones while raising money for charity.
Giving evidence, wife Donna said: ‘Kellinu was one of the most passionate men I have ever met. He was passionate about his family and his friends.’
The inquest heard Kellinu, who had spent months training for the trek, was a keen runner who had completed up to seven marathons
Donna said she believe he was suffering the effects of high altitude sickness before he was found dead on October 29, 2019.
She added: ‘This would not have deterred him and giving up would not have been an option for him.’
Kell of Leckwith, Cardiff, was a member of the Les Croupiers running club and regularly took part in gruelling challenges and his local Parkrun event.
Coroner David Regan recorded a narrative conclusion.
He said: ‘Kellinu Portelli died as a result of high altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal.’
Before he left, Kell wrote online: ‘One more sleeps and I’m off on what I hope will be an adventure of a lifetime raising funds for an amazing charity. Thank you all for your generous donations and support.’
An online fundraising page set up before he left raised almost £11,000 for the Marie Curie charity.
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