Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - A retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer traveling overseas for charity had to be evacuated off Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania last week after reaching the summit.
Marc DeLuca trekked over four days to Gillman's Point at an elevation of 18,650 feet before succumbing to acute mountain sickness and the onset of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, according to CMPD. Once back at base camp Kilimanjaro, guides evaluated his condition and made the decision to get him to lower altitude as fast as possible.
The hike organizer told FOX 46 Charlotte he received an email from DeLuca saying he was okay once he got off Mount Kilimanjaro.
Altitude sickness is potentially fatal unless treated by descending. Two other climbers were also evacuated due to medical reasons.
DeLuca and his wife went on a hike with nine others from the Charlotte Rotary International 7680 who were climbing for the End Polio Now charity. DeLuca is not a Rotarian, according to the hike organizer. The campaign is in the final push to eradicate polio worldwide.
The hike organizer said the Rotary District 7680 has been doing these charity climbs up Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania for five years. This is the first time one of their group got sick with High Altitude Pulmonary Edema.
The climbers included Macon Dunnagan from Charlotte, who has climbed the mountain 39 times and serves as tourism ambassador for Tanzania and Joseph Meela, who acted as head guide for President Jimmy Carter's Kilimanjaro attempt in 1988.
CMPD says DeLuca is no stranger to long distance endurance adventures. He has bicycled 4,500 miles coast to coast, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and kayaked 1,515 miles continuously around the entire state of Florida.
"This was a phenomenal experience and by far one of the hardest physical and mental challenges I've ever done" he said.
For information on the End Polio Now campaign visit http://rotary7680kiliclimb.org/2015/.
CMPD says DeLuca is expected to return to United States August 5.