Bones and climbing equipment found last month at the base of the Matterhorn in Switzerland have been formally identified as belonging to a Japanese mountaineer who disappeared four years ago, the police have confirmed.
"On July 23, 2014, a 40-year-old Japanese mountaineer climbed the Matterhorn alone. As the man never returned from [the summit], he was considered missing,” the Valais cantonal police said in a statementexternal link on Monday.
Four years on, on September 11, a local mountain rescuer found human bones and climbing equipment at the base of the east face of the Matterhorn, the iconic 4,478-metre peak that dominates the resort of Zermatt in southern Switzerland.
The police said DNA tests confirmed that the remains belonged to the Japanese mountaineer who had disappeared on July 23, 2014. It added the bones had become visible as the thick snow and ice melted.
The Matterhorn, which stands on the Swiss-Italian border, is extremely popular among mountaineers. But more than 500 people have died trying to climb it since its first ascent in 1865.