Signal located while searching for missing climber

After a new tip, mountain rescuers in the Berchtesgaden Alps resumed their search for a mountaineer who had an accident on Thursday afternoon. A police spokesman said the signal was received with a special positioning technique on a helicopter from a rock face in the search area.

The helicopter is now supposed to bring mountain rescuers to the Hochkalter area near Ramsau to search for the 24-year-old. “This is the last straw in the search for today.” The mountain rescuers had previously given up the search for the injured climber from Lower Saxony because the danger to the helpers was too great. The helicopter then flew over the search area for the last time and picked up the signal, the police spokesman said.

What triggered the signal was initially unclear. The tracking technology reacts to semiconductors and reflectors, such as those sewn into some outdoor jackets. The 24-year-old climber has been missing since Saturday. At that time he had made an emergency call because he had slipped in a snowstorm just below the summit of the 2607 meter high Hochkalter and could hardly hold his ground in the steep and slippery terrain. After several phone calls, contact broke off. Mountain rescuers found his backpack on Wednesday, but he himself was missing.

In the days before, the conditions were sometimes life-threatening, even for the experienced rescuers: strong winds with persistent snowfall had caused the risk of avalanches, and the Hochkalter also breaks off in steep walls. On Wednesday, too, the conditions were initially adverse because fresh snow had fallen again, as a mountain rescuer explained. The snow is now about one and a half meters deep, and there is no supporting ground.

A mountain rescue helicopter with a Recco transmitter in Ramsau near Berchtesgaden. The rescue workers continued to search for a missing hiker in the Berchtesgaden Alps on Wednesday.
© Photo: Kilian Pfeiffer / dpa

The snow is a good three meters high in the many gullies. Those responsible therefore judged the use of foot troops to be ineffective and, despite all the safety measures, too risky. At an altitude of 2400 to 2500 meters, where the 24-year-old was suspected, it was around minus 15 degrees on Wednesday morning.

The plan was to only send rescue teams to the west side of the summit ridge to rescue him and bring him down into the valley once the casualty had been specifically located, presumably on the west side of the summit ridge. Meanwhile, an additional large helicopter was available to transport the emergency services.

In addition, mountain rescuers, fully equipped with ice axes and avalanche emergency equipment, were on hand to dig up the 24-year-old as quickly as possible. However, hopes of finding him alive were dwindling. (dpa)

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