Tech

Did Google Kill Another ‘X Project’ Executive Dan Fredinburg, In Napal?

By Matt Stevens, LA Times, 4/25/2015

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A California man who described himself as an “inventor” and “adventurer” and was a longtime member of Google’s privacy team died while climbing Mt. Everest after a powerful earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche, his colleagues and family confirmed.

Bay Area resident Dan Fredinburg, a Google X project manager, died early Saturday morning after suffering “a major head injury,” Fredinburg’s sister posted on his Instagram account.

“All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man,” his sister Megan wrote. “He was and is everything to us. Thank you.”

Fredinburg was with three other Google employees at Everest; they are safe, according to a public post from Google’s director of privacy, Lawrence You. “We are working to get them home quickly,” he wrote.

In an online statement, mountaineering company Jagged Globe also confirmed the death of Fredinburg, whom the company called “one of our Everest team members.” Two other members of the team were being treated for injuries suffered in the avalanche, the statement said. It was unclear whether the team members were among the three Google employees.

The devastating Nepal earthquake set off an avalanche above Mt. Everest base camp at the height of climbing season, killing at least 17 people and stranding others at the perilous Khumbu Icefall, Nepalese officials and climbers reported.

The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, struck just before noon local time, toppling historic buildings and fracturing highways. Authorities have placed the death toll at 1,805, with the number expected to rise.

Fredinburg’s various social media accounts paint a portrait of a man at the height of life. His LinkedIn profile lists degrees from top universities, including USC, Stanford and UC Berkeley. The profile shows him climbing the ladder from farm hand and apprentice Carpenter to IT consultant and software engineer.

At Google, Fredinburg’s profile says he led an “adventure team” on expeditions into the “wild … bringing back stunning imagery from the planet’s most remote regions.” He also led multiple trips to gather imagery of a region around Mt. Everest, for use on the “street view” function of Google Maps.

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