Dr Maria Strydom and Robert Gropel had trained for 12 months for Mount Everest. (AAP/ Monash University)
Dr Maria Strydom and Robert Gropel had trained for 12 months for Mount Everest. (AAP/ Monash University)

Mt Everest tragedy: "I can't imagine life without her'

The husband of an Australian woman who died on Mount Everest last week says he cannot yet contemplate living without his wife.

Dr Maria Strydom died on Saturday after falling ill near the mountain's peak.

Robert Gropel, himself suffering altitude sickness, tried desperately to help his stricken wife, whom he described as "the perfect person".

He is now recuperating in Kathmandu, while rescue teams continue their efforts to carry his wife's body down the world's highest mountain.

Dr Maria Strydom
Dr Maria Strydom

Mr Gropel says he is still coming to terms with his life's dream becoming a nightmare.

"I'm just trying to be strong, I'm learning to cope and block out what causes sort of, breakdowns and trying to get the job done of bringing my wife home," he said.

The 36-year-old Melbourne vet and his wife, 34-year-old Monash University senior lecturer Dr Strydom, had been together since 2003.

More on this at ABC News


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