Human remains found in melting ice on Swiss glacier are identified as 32-year-old British hiker who went missing 50 years ago
Human remains discovered in melting ice on a Swiss glacier have been identified as a British hiker who went missing in 1974.
The 32-year-old explorer – who has not been named – went missing in December 1974 and his body was found in the Pennine Alps on September 5 last year.
Officials have been working with British police and diplomats to determine his identity since the remains were discovered.
Swiss authorities maintain a list of more than 300 people who have gone missing in the mountains since 1925.
Melting glaciers have revealed a number of bodies over the past few years, including the remains of a couple who went missing in 1942, which were discovered in 2017.
The 34-year-old English man, who has not been named by police, went missing in December 1974 and was found near the Italian-Swiss border
The remains were found near the Swiss-Italian border in September 2022 and officials have been working with British authorities to identify the body
Canton Police Valais said in a statement on Thursday: ‘The remains found at the scene suggested that it could be a man who had been reported missing from the Grand Combin area since December 31, 1974.
‘A DNA identification, in cooperation with the police in Great Britain, led to the confirmation of the identity of the missing person.
‘This is an English national who was 32 years old at the time of his disappearance.’
Police say he was found as part of a grim air search for human remains missing for decades that are now being exposed by global warming.
Climate change and glacial melting means that bodies which had been trapped in the ice are now being found
Stockji Glacier in Switzerland, where the body of a 27-year-old German mountaineer who went missing in August 1990 was found
A spokesperson explained: ‘As part of the search for missing persons, the cantonal police are constantly looking for new possible leads.
‘Due to the melting of the glacier, the agents of the cantonal police, in cooperation with the air force, went to the Corbassiere glacier.’
Switzerland’s glaciers have shrunk by around 50 per cent in just 85 years, exposing the long-buried remains of missing climbers and hikers.
In another case, remains found on the Stockji Glacier in Zermatt, Switzerland, on July 26, 2022, were matched to a 27-year-old German mountaineer who was declared missing in August 1990.
In 2017, the bodies of a Swiss couple who never returned from milking the cows in a meadow near their home in 1942 were found mummified in a glacier.
The couple’s youngest daughter – they shared six children – said when the bodies were found that the family had never stopped looking for them.
‘We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day,’ she told Le Matin.