Body of skier believed to have died 22 years ago found on glacier in the Austrian Alps


Melting Himalayan ice may pose serious danger

Melting Himalayan glaciers pose serious dangers to humans, report finds


A mountain guide has found the remains high in the Austrian Alps of a man believed to have died in an accident on a glacier 22 years ago, police said Tuesday.

The body was found on Friday on the Schlatenkees glacier in the Hohe Tauern national park in eastern Tyrol province, near the Italian border and at an altitude of about 2,900 meters (9,515 feet), police said in a statement. The remains had clearly been there for some time, they added.

The guide alerted police in Lienz, who recovered the body with the help of a helicopter.

A few meters below the body, rescuers found a backpack containing cash, a bank card and a driving license. Police determined that the remains appear to be those of an Austrian man who was 37 at the time and is believed to have died in 2001. The man had cross-country skiing equipment.

A DNA comparison is being carried out to confirm the man’s identity. The result is expected in a few weeks.

As glaciers increasingly melt and recede, which many scientists blame on global warming, there has been an increase in discoveries of the remains of hikers, skiers and other Alpinists who went missing decades ago.

The Schlatenkees glacier itself was the scene of one such previous find. Bones found there in 2011 were believed to be those of a local man who had missing since 1957.

Ice cave and glacier snout of Schlatenkees
An undated photo shows an ice cave and glacier snout of Schlatenkees. The Schlatenkees is one of the biggest glaciers in Austria and retreating rapidly. 

Martin Zwick/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In neighboring Switzerland, police said last month that DNA tests confirmed that a body found on a glacier near the Matterhorn was that of a German mountaineer who disappeared in 1986. Police did not identify the climber but published a photo of a hiking boot and gear sticking out of the snow that apparently belonged to the missing man.

In August 2017, Italian mountain rescue crews recovered the remains of hikers on a glacier on Mont Blanc’s southern face likely dating from the 1980s or 1990s.

The month before that, a shrinking glacier in Switzerland revealed the bodies of a frozen couple who went missing in 1942.

In 2015, the remains of two Japanese climbers who went missing in 1970 on the Matterhorn were found and their identities were confirmed through the DNA testing, Reuters reported.

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