Ken Hutt contemplates second attempt at paragliding on Everest after first attempt thwarted by illness

A New South Wales man says he is considering making another bid to become the oldest person to paraglide from the top of Mount Everest after his first attempt was thwarted by illness.

Ken Hutt spent six weeks climbing the mountain in Nepal last year before being forced to abandon the mission due to a chest infection, believed to be pneumonia.

“It was to the point where I lost sleep at night. I had a half hour coughing fit and it got worse and worse and worse,” he said.

“So I had to make a decision and I thought, ‘Do I keep going and risk what could have been my end?’

“All I could do was leave the expedition at that point.”

Ken Hutt, 62, trained for three years to paraglide from the top of Mount Everest.ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale

The 62-year-old, from Berry on the state’s south coast, had embarked on the journey to draw attention to Rotary’s polio eradication program.

The highly contagious viral disease can cause paralysis and mainly affects children under the age of five in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Hutt said he was extremely proud of the efforts of his team members, who also raised $300,000 for the charity with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“It was amazing all over the world how much publicity and support we got,” he said.

“Our main goal was to get that message out, and we achieved that, so it wasn’t all lost.”

A man in safety equipment stands on a hill with a parachute crumpled around his feet.
Ken Hutt says he is considering a second attempt.ABC Illawarra: Tim Fernandez

Second try

The former police rescue officer said he felt he still had unfinished business and would continue training for another attempt.

“I always said when I went there we would only have one chance at it,” he said.

“But I can understand why people keep returning to these mountains, they do bite you.

“Until we categorically say it’s over, I will continue to do paragliding and fitness training and promote polio.”

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