Wounded Veteran Benjamin Breckheimer Safe After Avalanche on Mount Everest

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/ Source: NBC News

A Wisconsin man who was trying to become the first wounded veteran to climb Mount Everest is safe after the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal triggered a deadly avalanche.

Benjamin Breckheimer called his mother after Saturday’s quake to tell her he was unharmed after the avalanche killed at least 18 people as the height of Mount Everest’s climbing season got underway. “I’m a wreck,” the mother, Mary Lyons, told NBC affiliate WBBH. “I’m glad that I got to talk to him.”

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Breckheimer, who was injured by a bomb in Afghanistan in 2009, posted a lengthy letter to Facebook before his expedition.

“If I don’t make it back for whatever reason, don’t cry,” he wrote. “Fight through the tears. Learn, everyday. Don’t lie, cheat or steal. No regrets. Live passionately. Love like crazy. Laugh uncontrollably. It’s never ‘Good bye’, it’s ‘See you later.’”

At least 3,800 people were killed by the earthquake. The toll has risen steadily as searchers pull bodies from the rubble.

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— Elisha Fieldstadt