On Saturday, the 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal, its worst earthquake in 80 years, killing roughly 3,600 people, claimed the life of at least one Southern Californian and triggered Governor Jerry Brown to send 57 Los Angeles County firefighters to aid in search and rescue efforts.
NBC News reported that Tom Taplin, 61, a photographer from Santa Monica who had his own production company, was filming a documentary about the base camp at Mt. Everest when he was killed by an avalanche the earthquake incited. At last report, 16 others had been killed by the avalanche, including Dan Fredinburg, 33, a Google executive, and Marisa Eve Girawong, a doctor, reportedly from Edison, N.J.
Cory Freyer, Taplin’s wife of three years and partner for 24, told ABC News that her husband had been filming for a month. He loved scaling mountains and wrote a book in the 1990s about climbing Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest mountain outside of Asia. Freyer told NBC, “It sounds trite, but he died doing what he loved doing.”
Two other Santa Monicans, A. Michelle Page, 58, and her husband, Daniel Adams, are missing in Nepal; they were supposed to stay in Kathmandu, but have not been heard from. Page worked as a film editor on the Spider-Man Trilogy and Robert Altman’s The Player, and also owned the Danger Dogs art import business, which features art from Nepalese sign painters that picture dogs with warnings of their aggressiveness. Page wrote of the paintings on her website, “Your pet’s portrait can be rendered in the naive, almost primitive style that results in a ‘doggie mug shot,’ or it can have a playful smile, a wary and growling demeanor, or a dangerous gleam in its eye.”
The paintings Page has sold have also been bought by art professionals ranging from John Walsh, former director of the J. Paul Getty Museum to Christine Knoke, chief curator at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego.
Adams, 65, is a former cameraman.
The Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2, sent by Brown, left Sunday from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County. Some of its members have also flown to offer aid and support for emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina, the earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, and the 2014 Washington State mudslide.