Mountain climbing rescuer plunges to death after line cut
Crew in helicopter forced to sever rope after high winds
An investigation has been launched into the tragic demise of a mountain
climber rescuer who plunged to his death after his life line was cut
from a helicopter buckling in the high winds. The helicopter pilot could
face manslaughter charges in connection with the death of 52-year-old
Alpine policeman Franz Franzeskon, who died when he was dropped into a
The helicopter pilot could face manslaughter charges in connection with the death of 52-year-old Alpine policeman Franz Franzeskon, in red, who died when he was dropped into a jagged crevasse.
When high winds kicked in, Franzekson asked the yet unnamed pilot to release them instantly onto the craggy rock-face below. Franzekson apparently did not see how high they were through the swirling snow below. Franzeskon died instantly in the fall while the two others are recovering in hospital from multiple injuries.
The public prosecutor in Innsbruck has opened an inquiry into the accident, investigating whether the pilot was to blame for the death.
"They apparently misjudged the distance they still had to go and fell some way on to rocks," one official said. Experts have established there was no technical problems with the helicopter.
The climber, from Slovakia, was found dead in the crevasse a day after the search was resumed after being cancelled due to bad weather.
The Grossvenediger mountain lies at 3,657 meters and is Austria's fourth highest peak on the border of Salzburg and East Tyrol.
It was the second time this month that rescue workers had been called into action to assist in a rescue on the mountain. A Hungarian skiier was rescued after 14 hours stuck in a crevasse on April 9.
The skier had plunged 10 meters into the crevasse. A friend notified rescuers who after 14 hours were able to get the man out.
A spokesman for the Alpine police Norbert Zobel said that the safety of the rescuers was always paramount - but added that when it was still possible to save a life, rescuers would often push things to the limit.
He said: "If we are talking about a dead body, then certainly there wouldn't be such risks taken."
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Austria, mountain climbing, fatality, investigation
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