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Santa Monica Filmmaker Dies In Everest Avalanche

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By Lookout Staff

April 28, 2015 -- A Longtime Santa Monica resident and local documentary filmmaker was among 18 people reported killed in a Mount Everest avalanche triggered by this past weekend’s 7.8-magnitude quake in Nepal.

Reports said Tom Taplin, 61,who owned TET Films and Photography in Santa Monica, died when powerful wind gusts tore apart Everest’s base camp during the avalanche.

Meanwhile, two other Santa Monica residents who went briefly missing and had been feared dead in the quake reported on Facebook that they were well.

Taplin was filming a documentary at Mount Everest when the quake struck April 25, triggering the avalanche that also killed two other Americans, Google executive Dan Friedenburg and Dr. Marisa Eve Girawong of New Jersey, according to media reports.

Corey Freyer, Taplin’s wife, told a network news station that the couple met in Santa Monica and had been married about three years. She said Taplin was an avid mountaineer.

Taplin died “doing what he loved,” Freyer told the station.

According to his Linkedin page, Taplin owned TET Films and Photography in Santa Monica since 1981. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and film studies from Lake Forest College and also attended the California Institute of the Arts from 1976-79, his Linkedin page said.

His film credits include “The Beaches of Agnes” in 2008, “DOCUMENTEUR” in 1981, and “Mur Murs” in 1980.

Originally from Colorado, Taplin had been on the mountain for weeks before the quake struck Saturday, according to reports.

It was the largest one-day death toll on the mountain since 2014 when 16 people were killed on Everest in a single day.

Two other Santa Monica residents, A. Michelle Page, 58, and Daniel Adams, 65, were initially feared missing following the quake, but the couple said Monday on their Facebook page that they were safe.

Page operates Danger Dogs, which she started in 2007, commissioning art by Nepali artists.

“Thanks for thinking of us, but now is the time to worry about Nepal,” Page wrote on her Facebook page.

Latest reports Monday put the death toll in Saturday’s quake at 3,800, but the number was continuing to climb. Nepal authorities Monday warned the death toll could reach 10,000.

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