Skeletal human remains found in southern Swiss Alps

As glaciers like the Aletsch (pictured) melt, macabre discoveries come to the surface. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

Two bodies have been found in recent weeks in the high mountains, discovered as glaciers recede under summer temperatures.

This content was published on August 8, 2022

Alpinists found human bones last Wednesday on the Chessjen glacier in the southern canton of Valais, the Blick newspaper reported on Monday. A week before, another body was found on the Stockji glacier near the resort of Zermatt.

In both cases the process of identification of the remains is still underway, a Valais cantonal police spokesman confirmed to the Keystone-SDA news agency.

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The spokesman said the usual procedure is to first examine any objects found along with the remains, to get an idea of how far back the case might date. If possible, DNA testing can then be carried out.

Police in Valais maintain a list of some 300 cases of people gone missing since 1925. As glaciers melt, the remains of people disappeared decades ago can emerge from the ice. In 2012, the remains of three brothers were found on the Aletsch glacier; they had disappeared in 1926. And in 2017, the remains of a couple missing since 1942 appeared on the Tsanfleuron glacier in Valais.

Last week, debris from a plane that had crashed in 1968 was found on the Aletsch glacier by a mountain guide.

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