Trek4Mandela team arrive home from tragic Kilimanjaro expedition
It’s unclear if officials were able to bring back Gugu Zulu’s body along with the team.
JOHANNESBURG - The Trek4Mandela team has arrived back in South Africa after a bitter sweet journey.
One of the climbers, race car driver Gugu Zulu, died on Monday while attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.
He was climbing with his wife, Letshego, to raise funds for Mandela Day.
There were both tears and cheers as the climbers walked through the terminal gates here at the airport.
Shortly after their arrival, a press briefing was held at OR Tambo International Airport.
Expedition leader Sibusiso Vilane broke down and cried, saying it wasn't meant to be this way and that this was supposed to be a celebration.
#GuguZulu Vilane says we have lost a brother, father, friend. The entire nation has lost. We had no idea that Gugu was sick, if he was. GN— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 20, 2016
Vilane says he told team that once they reach an altitude of 4,700m they would feel sick, have headaches and suffer with nausea but he did not see any signs of sickness in Zulu.
#GuguZulu Vilane says that night Zulu indicated that he was weak and needed energy. GN— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 20, 2016
#GuguZulu Vilane says in the night, Zulu was battling they put him on a stretcher and tried to get him down the mountain. GN— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) July 20, 2016
The team leader says he could not sleep that night as he prayed that Zulu would not get worse.
Family members, friends and members from the Nelson Mandela foundation met the team, holding flowers and banners to welcome them home.
Officials were able to bring back Gugu Zulu's body along with the rest of team, this evening.