KATHMANDU: The Department of Tourism on Thursday claimed that high altitude sickness and health issues were the reasons behind the death on Everest, refuting national and international media claims that the largest ‘traffic jam’ on the world’s highest peak took the life of nine mountaineers this spring season.

“Our attention has been drawn to the wrong information about deaths on Everest conveyed by national and international media,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, Director General of the department. “Traffic jam did not cause the deaths.”

Nepal has been facing a lot of criticism for issuing permit in excess to climb the world’s tallest peak and placing the life of mountaineers at stake.

However, a statement released by the department said the past data on the number of permits issued show that there wasn’t a huge difference.

The department issued 366 expedition permits in 2017 and 346 expedition permits in 2018, whereas 381 permits were issued this year.

“Hence, it untrue that congestion killed climbers on Mount Everest and we urge everyone not to be swayed by false information,” the statement added.

Reports suggest that nine climbers were dead in the Nepal side of the Everest while two died on the Chinese side.