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Body of climber missing since 1986 discovered on melting Swiss glacier

The remains of a German man who went missing while climbing near Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn mountain 37 years ago have been recovered.

DNA tests confirmed the remains belonged to the 38-year-old, who went missing in September 1986.

The discovery was made by climbers hiking along the Theodul Glacier in Zermatt on 12 July, police in the Valais canton said.

“DNA analysis enabled the identification of a mountain climber who had been missing since 1986,” police said in a statement.


“In September 1986, a German climber, who was 38 at the time, had been reported missing after not returning from a hike.”

The police did not give details about the man’s identity or the circumstances of his death.

The force published a photo of a lone hiking boot with red laces sticking out of the snow which belonged to the climber.

More on Germany

Shrinking glaciers uncover climbers’ bodies

Swiss climatologists and other experts say the country’s glaciers have been melting at accelerated rates in recent years, which they attribute in part to man-made climate change.

The shrinking glaciers have led to the discovery of the bodies of climbers who disappeared over the last few decades.

Read more:
Swiss voters back ambitious plans to save melting glaciers in referendum
World has lost battle to stop glaciers melting and sea level rising

In 2015, the remains of two young Japanese climbers who went missing on the Matterhorn in a 1970 snowstorm were found and their identities confirmed through DNA testing.

Last year, Switzerland’s glaciers registered their worst melt rate since records began more than a century ago.

They lost 6% of their remaining volume, nearly double the previous record in 2003.


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