Soaring temperatures are prompting Switzerland’s melting glaciers to reveal their secrets, with hikers this summer chancing upon two sets of unidentified human remains and a plane wreckage lost for more than half a century, The Guardian reported.
Two French alpinists found human bones while scaling the Chessjen glacier in the southern canton of Valais, a police spokesperson confirmed. The skeleton was airlifted from the glacier by helicopter.
The bones were discovered near an old path that fell into disuse about 10 years ago, said Dario Andenmatten, the warden of the Britannia mountain hut from where many Alpinists start their ascents in the region.
Since little remained of the body other than bare bones, Andenmatten said he expected the person to have died “sometime in the 1970s or 80s.”
A week earlier, another body had been found on the Stockji glacier near the resort of Zermatt, north-west of the Matterhorn. In both cases, Valais police said the process of identifying human remains through DNA analysis was still underway and would take “a few more days.”
Police in the Alpine region maintain a list of about 300 cases of people who have gone missing since 1925. It includes the supermarket chain millionaire Karl-Erivan Haub—a triple German, Russian, and US citizen who went missing in the Zermatt region while training for a skiing tour on 7 April 2018.
In the first week of August, a mountain guide discovered the wreckage of a plane that crashed over the Aletsch glacier, near the Jungfrau and Monch mountain peaks, in June 1968.
Closer inspection revealed the objects to be wreckage pieces of a Piper Cherokee aircraft that crashed in the area on June 30 1968, carrying on board a teacher, a chief medical officer and his son, all from Zurich. The bodies were recovered at the time, but the wreckage was not.
After a winter with relatively little snowfall, the Swiss Alps have already experienced two severe summer heatwaves. In July, authorities advised alpinists against scaling the Matterhorn because of the unusually high temperatures, which nearly reached 30 degrees Celsius in Zermatt.