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A few days have passed since the tragedy on Mt. Rainier, but details are starting to emerge. The hikers have been identified as Eduard and Marianna Burceag, both 31, and friend David Vlad, 37. All three were Romanians who had since moved to the Seattle area. Both Vlad and Marianna Burceag survived and were released from the hospital today, while Eduard’s body was retrieved by helicopter this morning.
According to several accounts, Eduard Burceag, an experienced mountaineer, helped build a snow trench and insisted on lying on the snowy ground with his wife sandwiched between himself and Vlad. Burceag took the brunt of the cold, and later died from exposure.
“They definitely knew they were in a tough spot all night and they basically huddled together and lay on top of each other. But he (Burceag) took the hit for his team and insisted on being kind of the guy on the bottom so he would take the brunt of the cold and keep his wife warm. And she made it,” said a park ranger.
Eduard Burceag was employed at a Seattle-area tech company and is survived by his wife and two children. His younger brother Cristian proclaimed him a “hero for us.”
— Ted Alvarez
Fallen Mount Rainier Hiker Hailed As Hero (KIROtv.com)
Dead hiker loved Seattle, brother says: “He was a hero for us” (Seattle Times)