Italian mountain climber falls to death in Swiss Alps

August 22nd, 2011 - 8:48 pm ICT by BNO News  

WALLIS, SWITZERLAND (BNO NEWS) — An Italian mountain climber was killed on late Sunday afternoon while climbing with a group in the Pennine Alps mountain range in Switzerland, police said on Monday.

Wallis Canton police said the accident happened at around 5.30 p.m. local time when five Italian tourists were climbing the Matterhorn mountain. With it’s 4,478 meters (14,690 feet) high summit, Matterhorn is one of the highest peaks in the Alps.

“During the descent, just above the Solvay Hut at an altitude of around 4,030 meters (2.5 mile) above sea level, one of the men plunged 500 meters (1,640 feet) into the eastern side,” a police spokesperson said. “The climbers were not roped together at this time.”

Police said the body of the Italian climber was later recovered by a rescue team and flown to the municipality of Zermatt in Valais Canton. “The formal identification has not yet been completed,” the spokesperson added.

The deadly accident comes after two mountain climbers were killed on Friday and Saturday as a result of two separate accidents on the Lagginhorn and Dent Blanche mountains.

Since the beginning of the season, a total of 16 climbers have died in the region, most of them during the month of July. On July 15, five mountain climbers were killed as a result of three separate accidents on the Grand Combin, Lagginhorn, and Petit Mont Collon mountains.

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