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Glacier death

Long-lost climber identified from body part remains

The identity of a German climber, who went missing in canton Graubünden 53 years ago, has been established after parts of his body were discovered in the Morteratsch glacier over the course of two years.

The man was last seen alive on August 30, 1963, as he set off from the Boval hut towards the Marco e Rosa hut in the Bernina alpine range. His fate was a mystery until the glacier spewed out parts of his body more than half a century later and his identity was revealed using DNA testing.

The glacier gave up its grim contents over the course of two summers, allowing police to literally piece together the identity of the man, who was 36 years old at the time of his disappearance. Scientists at Forensic Medicine Institute of St Gallen were able to make a positive identification using DNA from the man’s family members.

Climbers regularly stumble across human remains in the glacier, located near the Bernina peak and the Swiss border with Italy. Graubünden cantonal police estimate the glacier holds the remains of up to 40 missing climbers.

swissinfo.ch with agencies


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