New Jersey woman among victims in quake-triggered avalanche on Mount Everest

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NEW JERSEY (PIX11/AP) -- A physician assistant from New Jersey and a Google executive are among the thousands who died after a massive earthquake struck Nepal and triggered an avalanche that swept through the Mount Everest base camp, their companies confirmed this weekend.

Both victims were on the mountain -- the world’s highest -- when the avalanche hit. At least 17 people on Everest were killed, CNN reports.

One of them was 28-year-old Marisa Eve Girawong, who went by Eve, was serving as a doctor at Everest/Lhotse Base Camp, Madison Mountaineering said, announcing her death in a post titled "Our hearts are broken."

Friends tell PIX11 News that her kindness was insurmountable, commenting that she put the "Eve" into Mount Everest.

Experienced climber Garrett Madison was leading the expedition up Mount Everest, when the avalanche roared over their base camp.

"…our base camp had been devastated and that one of our members, our beloved doctor Eve Girawong was in critical condition. Over the next few hours we learned that she had passed away and it was very hard on all of us," Madison said speaking from a satellite phone.

Girawong had been working as a medic at the Everest base camp for the team of climbers. They were nearly halfway through the two-month expedition when the avalanche struck.

An avid climber, Girawong had two Master’s degrees in mountain and expedition medicine. Photos show her traveling the world in recent years. But her roots were in Edison, New Jersey. She graduated from John P. Stevens High School in Edison and Rutgers University, and worked at East Orange General Hospital.

Since 2014, she has been practicing wilderness medicine in the Everest region aiding and attending to hikers tackling the formidable peak, having trained in expedition medicine in Scotland before that, according to her biography.

A few weeks before the avalanche, she posted a photo of the stunning landscape and stated: "I can't think of anything that makes me as happy or peaceful as being out here."

Her final post came Saturday from Everest Base Camp, highlighting the difficulty of her work and her sense of humor.

"Day 28 on this arduous journey , snow is falling & my food cravings are at an all time high...Is a crunchy spicy tuna roll with eel sauce too much to ask for?" she wrote.

In addition to Girawong, at least one other U.S. resident died in the avalanche.

Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who worked at the tech giant since 2007 and who described himself as an adventurer, was hiking Mount Everest with three other Google employees when the avalanche struck, Google’s director of privacy said, adding that his colleagues are safe.

Fredinburg’s company has launched a “person finder” tool for Nepal to help people find loved ones, as it does in the wake of natural disasters. Google said it is committing $1 million to the quake response.

Some of the survivors of the earthquake-generated avalanche have now reached Nepal's capital. They've been taken to hospitals but none appeared to have life-threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the quake continued to grow Sunday and has surpassed 2,500 victims.

Chaos began Saturday when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the mountainous nation situated between Tibet and India. Since then, the region has been rocked by several aftershocks, including a 6.7-magnitude shaker, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. AP reports that massive quake sent panicked residents running into the streets as buildings in Kathmandu swayed.

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.

Marisa Eve Girawong was killed when a massive earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, where she was working as a base camp doctor. Her company, Madison Mountaineering, confirmed Girawong's death on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Photo: Madison Mountaineering)

Marisa Eve Girawong was killed when a massive earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, where she was working as a base camp doctor. Her company, Madison Mountaineering, confirmed Girawong's death on Saturday, April 25, 2015. (Photo: Madison Mountaineering)