Search for Trinity Professor missing on Mount Everest called off

The search for Seamus Lawless who last week fell during his descent of Mount Everest has ended.

Lawless, an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity, went missing last Friday after falling from an altitude of 8,300 metres on Mount Everest. The search party organised by Seven Summit Treks to find the Professor has been called off.

In an official statement, Trinity offered its condolences to Lawless’ family stating: “The tragic death of our friend and colleague, Séamus (Shay) Lawless, has come as a huge shock to all of us. On behalf of everyone at Trinity College Dublin and the research centre, ADAPT, we want to offer our condolences to his wife, Pam, and their daughter, Emma, and to his large family, all his friends, students and colleagues.”

In a statement, Lawless’ family announced their decision to end the search due to treacherous conditions.

“While the experienced search team has made every effort to locate Shay, the extremes of operating at high altitude and the sheer range of the search area ultimately proved too difficult and based on expert advice we have decided to call off the search rather than risk endangering anyone’s life in the treacherous conditions.”

Lawless was one of an eight-member team participating in this year’s Irish Everest Expedition led by the professional Irish climber Noel Richard Hanna. The assistant professor had previously scaled two peaks in preparation for the Everest ascent.

Trinity has spoken of the “enormous” legacy that he leaves behind: “An expert in Information Retrieval, his peer-reviewed publications, his supervision of cutting-edge doctoral research, and his leadership of internationally acclaimed research projects have transformed the boundaries of the discipline. As a colleague and as a friend, Shay’s enthusiasm, his creativity and his approach to his work was inspirational.”

A memorial service of commemoration is due to be held in the coming weeks.

Victoria Mitchell

Victoria Mitchell is a former Deputy News Editor for Trinity News.