MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) – Google employees were mourning the loss of one of their own Saturday. Dan Fredinburg, an executive at the Mountain View-based company who described himself as an adventurer, was among the hundreds who died in a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday.
The devastating quake was centered about 50 miles from Katmandu. The death toll has reached 3500 and is expected to climb.READ MORE: Mothers Tearfully Remember Children Slain In Bay Area Homicides
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Fredinburg was climbing Mt. Everest when the quake triggered an avalanche. At least 17 others were killed on the mountain.
According to his sister Megan, Fredinburg suffered a major head injury. She posted news of his death on his Instagram account.
Jagged Globe, a company that organizes Mount Everest expeditions also reported his death on their website:
“1847 BST. It is with the greatest sorrow that we report the death of one of our Everest team members, Daniel Fredinburg. Two other team members have non-life threatening injuries, as a result of the avalanche that struck base camp during the earthquake and its aftershocks. They are being looked after in base camp. All Sherpas and other team members are uninjured and are safe in base camp or in Gorak Shep, a nearby cluster of tea houses and lodges.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan’s family and friends whilst we pray too for all those who have lost their lives in one of the greatest tragedies ever to hit this Himalayan nation.”
Fredinburg was an experienced climber. According to Google, he was climbing Mt. Everest with fellow coworkers Michele Battelli and Flo Nagl. They are all reported to be safe.
His friend Stephen DeBerry said he was doing what he loved when tragedy struck Nepal.
“Dan was a wild man in the best sense of the word,” DeBerry said. “One who would also go full tilt on whatever it was.”
DeBerry met Fredinburg a couple of years ago thanks to shared friends and their passion for climbing.
“I think it’s a brotherhood that thrives on the risk,” DeBerry said, who added that Fredinburg was in Nepal for the past few weeks in an attempt to climb Mt. Everest for the second time. Last year his group was unable to complete the climb.
DeBerry said he almost went on the trip to Everest with Fredinburg and his group. He stayed home this time, but said Fredinburg’s courage to brave Everest is indicative of the way he lived his life.READ MORE: With Playoff Dreams Dancing In Their Heads; San Francisco 49ers Fans Return To Levi's Stadium
“The kinds of risks that he took were not just on the mountain,” Deberry said. “He took risks as a human being and as a leader and I hold that in the highest regard.”
The actress Sophia Bush, who has appeared in photos with Fredinburg posted by entertainment outlets, called him “one-of-a-kind” in a post on Instagram.
“A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it,” she wrote. “His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so.”
Google confirmed his death. Lawrence You, the company’s director of privacy, posted online that Fredinburg was in Nepal with other Google employees hiking Mount Everest. The other three, he added, are safe.
The company says it has launched a “person finder” tool for Nepal to help people find loved ones and “is working to get updated satellite imagery to aid in the recovery effort.” Google says it is committing $1 million to the quake response.
- READ MORE: Hundreds Perish In Devastating Nepal Quake; Historic Buildings Crumble, Deadly Avalanches On Everest
Fredinburg attended UC Irvine and started at Google since 2007. He served as product manager and the head of privacy at Google X. He co-founded Google Adventure, a concept similar to Google Street View, but allowed access to exotic locations like the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck at 11:41 a.m. local time (2:11 a.m. ET), and occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles. It toppled modern buildings and centuries old temples. There have been dozens of aftershocks.
Saturday’s quake was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years. It was so powerful that it was felt all across the northern part of neighboring India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Pakistan.
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