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Body of wingsuit flyer recovered from glacier

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Body of wingsuit flyer recovered from glacier
Petit Combin mountain (right). Photo: Jphoto/Wikimedia Commons
21:48 CEST+02:00
The body of a wingsuit flyer has been recovered almost four months after the 33-year-old man crashed on a glacier before being swept away by an avalanche in the Valais Alps, cantonal police said on Tuesday.

The victim’s body was recovered by a rescue team guide and a police specialist on Monday after an Air Glaciers patrol spotted material in the snow in the Petit Combin mountain area, police said.

The Neuchâtel wingsuit flyer was with a colleague also practising the high-risk sport on February 23rd.

The pair jumped from a helicopter at an altitude of 4,000 metres with the intention of landing in the Bourg-Saint Pierre area, police said in news release issued a day later.

One of the men landed as planned but the victim crashed on the Pendant Glacier, on the west side of the Petit Combin at an altitude of 3,000 metres.

Emergency rescue officials could see evidence of the avalanche but no sign of the victim, who disappeared under a thick layer of snow from the slide.

The area has been regularly searched by air since the accident.

Police said formal identification of the victim was underway.

The wingsuit flying accident joins a list of similar crashes in the Swiss Alps over the past year.

Three experienced wingsuit flyers from France, New Zealand and the US died after crashing into a pasture in the canton of Bern on March 29th.

Last August, Mark Sutton, a British stuntman who parachuted into the London 2012 Olympics dressed as James Bond, died from crashing into a mountain ridge in the Swiss Alps after wingsuit diving from a helicopter.

Around 20 people die every year practising the extreme sport, which involves jumping from aircraft or mountain peaks while wearing a special suit designed to allow users to “fly” at high speeds before they open a parachute to land.

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