Murder probed amidst deadly falls in Swiss Alps

Murder probed amidst deadly falls in Swiss Alps
The Notre Dame des Pontis chapel. Photo:
An investigation is under way into a possible murder after the remains of a 39-year-old Swiss man were found at the bottom of a cliff in the canton of Valais, police said on Monday.

Two men have been detained and a “murder is not ruled out,” said cantonal police who also reported five climbing deaths in the Valais mountains over the weekend.

Investigators were informed last Tuesday of a corpse at the base of a cliff below the Notre Dame des Pontis chapel in the Anniviers valley.

Police conducted a search of the area and discovered the remains of the man.

He was identified after DNA analysis as a resident of the Sierre region of Valais.

The cantonal prosecutor’s office has opened a murder investigation.

Police released no further information about the case or why the two men were detained.

Meanwhile, the victims of climbing deaths in the Valais Alps included a 57-year-old German man who fell 400 metres while climbing near the summit of Lagginhorn (4,010 metres) on Sunday afternoon.

The man was with a group of seven Alpinists who headed up the mountain from Saas-Grund, police said.

Two local men from Haut-Valais died after falling 800 metres while climbing the Ober Gabelhorn, a 4,063-metre peak.

Police said it is not clear whether the men, aged 51 and 30, fell on Saturday or Sunday.

They were roped up and climbing an approach to the mountain known as the Arbengrat when the accident occurred, police said.

Police identified victims from a climbing accident on Saturday near the highest peak in Switzerland as two Italians aged 57 and 44.

The victims, who were roped up, fell 100 metres for unknown reasons while close to the summit of the Dufourspitze (4,634 metres), part of the Monte Rosa massif near Zermatt.

Police said investigations are under way into all the climbing deaths. 

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