Peterborough family ‘terrified’ as mum taken ill on Everest trek

Family on mountain with helicopter
Image caption,Madhurita Jayaswal was just 6km (3.7 miles) away from Everest base camp when she needed airlifting to safety

A family have spoken of their terror after a mother had to be airlifted to safety on a trek to Everest base camp.

Madhurita Jayaswal, 48, from Peterborough, was trekking in Nepal with her husband Vikash, daughter Tarannum, and son Vivaan.

They were 6km (3.7 miles) from their destination when her oxygen levels fell dangerously.

Mr Jayaswal, 49, said: “The three of us were quite scared and terrified thinking, what’s the next step?”

The family were fundraising for a school for marginalised families in India, the Galaxy Gurukul, and had been in training for months.

On seeing her mother taken aboard the helicopter, Tarannum, 14, said: “It was really sad but if it helped her health, of course it was for the best.”

Vivaan, 11, said: “It was heartbreaking for the entire family, not just me, but I knew we had to keep going.”

Family on route to Everest base camp
Image caption,The family had been training for months for the expedition

Mrs Jayaswal said she “knew something was off” the day before.

She said it was “difficult to pinpoint” exactly how ill she was “because oxygen levels are low anyway”.

She added: “They put me on an oxygen cylinder for the entire night but still my oxygen levels wouldn’t rise.

“It was surreal, I was there physically – I can hear people talk, but it wasn’t registering on my brain what is happening.”

Couple on route to base camp
Image caption,The expedition was a fundraiser for a foundation the couple set up to fund and expand a school for marginalised families in India

The family agreed in advance that if one or even two of them could not complete the climb, the rest would continue.

Mr Jayaswal said the next day, when he and his children were guided to their destination by a Sherpa, was “the toughest”.

He said: “It was an extraordinary moment when we reached base camp, especially when we put the banner of the school up.”

Dad and the two children at base camp
Image caption,The family managed to reach base camp for charity

The family have raised “about £45,000 in cash and in kind” towards their £50,000 goal, including donations of IT equipment for the school.

However, Mrs Jayaswal said she doubted she would make the attempt again.

“We did it for the school. Without that mission I don’t think I would have had the courage to do it,” she said.

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