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Remains of climber who went missing in 1986 recovered on a glacier in the Swiss Alps


The remains of a German climber who has been missing since 1986 have been recovered on a glacier in the Swiss Alps, the Valais canton police said on Thursday.

On July 12, climbers found human remains and several pieces of equipment on the Theodule glacier, in southern Switzerland.

The remains were transported to a hospital and “DNA comparisons allowed to establish that this was an alpinist who had disappeared in September 1986,” the police said in a statement.

Climbers found human remains and several pieces of equipment on the Theodule glacier, police said.

Valais canton police

Then 38 years old, the man went missing after failing to return from a climb. A search undertaken at the time was unsuccessful.

Police did not identify the climber but published of photo of a hiking boot sticking out of the snow that apparently belonged to the missing man.

Climate change has accelerated the melting of glaciers, which has led to the discovery of bodies of climbers who vanished over the decades.

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 75 years ago.

Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine, were 40 and 37 years old when they disappeared on Aug. 15, 1942. Regional police told local media in July that their bodies were discovered near a ski lift on the glacier by a worker for an adventure resort company.

In 2016, the bodies of a renowned mountain climber and expedition cameraman who were buried in a Himalayan avalanche in 1999 were found partially melting out of a glacier.

In 2015, the remains of two Japanese climbers who went missing in 1970 on

Switzerland’s famous Matterhorn were found and their identities were confirmed through the DNA testing, Reuters reported.

In 2022, Switzerland’s glaciers lost a record 6% of their volume — almost double the previous record in 2003, Reuters reported. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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