• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Foreigner death toll mounts in Swiss Alps

Malcolm Curtis · 6 Jul 2012, 10:30

Published: 06 Jul 2012 10:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jul 2012 10:30 GMT+02:00

Bern cantonal police are launching an investigation after two foreign climbers died on the celebrated Eiger mountain in the Bernese Alps.

The bodies of the climbers were discovered on Thursday on the western flank of the ice-covered peak by a search and rescue team from Lauterbrunnen.

The search was begun after the climbers were reported missing on Thursday morning, cantonal police said.

The bodies were recovered with the aid of an Air Glacier helicopter. 

The Eiger, 3,970 metres high, is celebrated for the challenges it poses to climbers. At least 65 have died since 1935 trying to ascend its steep north face, which has earned a nickname in German as the "murder wall".

An inquiry into the exact circumstances of the deaths and the identities of the victims is ongoing, cantonal police said.

Because the identity of the climbers was not immediately known their families could not be notified, police added.

The incident brings to eight the death toll of foreign climbers in the Swiss Alps over the past week.

On Tuesday, five German climbers who plunged several hundred metres from near the summit of the 4,010-metre-high Lagginhorn, an Alpine mountain in the canton of Valais.

According to the initial findings, Valais police said the victims, including two children aged 14 and 17, were not roped up when the accident occurred.

Other victims included a 44-year-old man, the father of the 17-year-old, and two young adults, aged 20 and 21.

The victims were part of a group of six climbers.

The other member of the group, a man whose 14- and 20-year-old sons died in the fall, decided to stop 100 metres from the summit because he was not feeling well, police said.

Another foreign climber, 32, died on Sunday morning after a fall on the Wetterhorn, another mountain in the Bernese Oberland, near Grindelwald.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Take care around fireworks, Swiss told
Fireworks injure hundreds every year. Photo: myswitzerland.com

Fireworks caused 250 accidents last year in Switzerland – half of them on August 1st.

Missing man found dead in Obwalden forest
The man's body was found close to the wreck of his car. Photo: Obwalden police

A man reported missing in early July has been found dead close to the wreck of his car in central Switzerland.

Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
The virus is on the march in Switzerland too. Photo: AFP

Switzerland has registered 28 cases of the birth-defect causing Zika virus since the start of the year.

Flooding leads to chaos in central Switzerland
The storm left a trail of devastation in Pfäffikon. Photo: Schwyz cantonal police

The fire brigade in the canton of Schwyz had a busy night dealing with flooding emergencies.

  Solar plane completes epic round-the-world trip
The journey ended in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in the UAE, completing its epic round-the-world journey.

Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
A mobile text warning system could be introduced: Photo: Katwarn.de

A text message alarm system could be used to warn people in the event of a terror attack.

Swiss solar plane nears end of epic trip
Solar Impulse is close to its goal. Photo: Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse 2 is approaching the end of its epic bid to become the first sun-powered plane to circle the globe without fuel.

Man arrested in forest murder case
A walker found the woman's body in the forest. File photo: Patrick Nouhailler

Police arrest an illegal immigrant over the killing of a woman in the canton of Bern last week.

Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
More people want to own a gun. Photo: kecko.jpg

Applications for gun licences soar in Switzerland amid growing insecurity.

Mountain biker survives icy plunge into the Rhine
The rescue services managed to winch the man to safety. Photo: Graubünden police

A Swiss mountain biker had a lucky escape after toppling into the Rhine river.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Daniel Orth
Education
Muslim school kids denied passport for refusing swimming lessons
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Politics
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer, says President
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
File photo: Kochtopf
National
Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva could get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
4,606
jobs available