February 10 2003 at 12:36PM
Sydney - An Australian on Monday became the first double amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Melbourne's Warren Macdonald took just 17 days to conquer Africa's highest mountain, Australia's AAP news agency reported.
Macdonald was joined on his Mt. Kilimanjaro ascent by Hamisi Lugonda, a 20-year-old Tanzanian farmer born without arms.
Macdonald, 37, had both legs amputated above the knee four years ago after being trapped for two days beneath a one-tonne slab of rock during a climbing expedition in Queensland, Australia.
The pair set out January 24 hoping to climb the 5,895m peak in three weeks. They arrived at the summit with almost a week to spare.
Madonald said by satellite phone that he hoped his world record would give others the will to overcome adversity.
"Hopefully it will inspire people, both disabled and able-bodied, to realise their dreams," the adventurer and motivational speaker said.
Macdonald returned to the sport that almost cost him his life just 10 months after having his legs amputated.
He took on Tasmania's Cradle Mountain using a specially built wheelchair - and won. Then, with the help of a prosthetics expert, he developed tiny artificial legs. On these, he climbed the sheer 500-metre face of Tasmania's Federation Peak.
Macdonald trained for his record attempt in Nepal. - Sapa-DPA
(from this website