Three Italian climbers found dead on Mont Blanc

A photo taken on August 10, 2018 shows a helicopter flying over the Mont Blanc massif, on the Italian side of the Alps, in the area where three Italian moutaineers have been reported missing for three days. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018
0

Three Italian climbers found dead on Mont Blanc

  • The first body was recovered after rescuers cut the cord linking the three climbers, and attempts to recover the other two will resume Saturday morning
  • Overcrowding has increased the risks for the around 300 climbers who attempt to reach the top each day

LYON: Three Italian climbers were found dead Friday on Mont Blanc in the French Alps, three days after they set out to summit Europe’s highest peak, rescue workers said.
The body of Luca Lombardini was recovered by the mountain police rescue service. Those of his brother and his fiancee were located nearby but have yet to be retrieved.
“They are probably buried under rocks and ice in an area covering a few dozen square meters,” an official at the rescue service said.
They were found around 1:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) at the foot of the Aiguille Verte (“Green Needle“), one of the peaks in the Mont Blanc massif.
“They were going along a ridge at an altitude of 3,400 to 3,500 meters (11,100-11,500 feet), and it seems they slipped and fell together,” the official said.
The ascent was a birthday present for Luca, who was joined by his fiancee and his brother Alessandro, himself a mountain rescue worker in Bardonecchia, near the French border, Italy’s Ansa news agency reported.
The first body was recovered after rescuers cut the cord linking the three climbers, and attempts to recover the other two will resume Saturday morning.
The accident brings to 15 the death toll on the 4,810-meter (10,500-foot) Mont Blanc during this year’s climbing season so far, after 14 people died and two went missing last year.
Overcrowding has increased the risks for the around 300 climbers who attempt to reach the top each day.
Officials last month began limiting access on the most popular route up Mont Blanc by turning away climbers who do not have reservations at the 120-bed Gouter refuge.
The heatwave that gripped much of Europe in recent weeks has also made conditions more treacherous, causing more ice to melt, making the ground more instable.


Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

Updated 23 October 2018
0

Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

  • Man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial
  • Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: A man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial Tuesday in a process closed to the public.
Tajikistan’s Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP Tuesday the trial for the “brutal murder of four foreign cyclists” had begun in the suspect’s high-security detention center.
Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, already confessed to killing American cycling tourists Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, Dutch citizen Rene Wokke and Swiss citizen Markus Hummel in July.
The victims were struck by a car as they cycled along the remote Pamir Highway, a popular route among adventure tourists, before being set upon with knives and firearms.
Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt.
A video of the five men pledging allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released by an official Daesh media channel.
Tajik authorities have so far ignored the video evidence, instead blaming a former opposition party — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan — that was banned by the government in 2015.
The fact the trial is closed has raised concerns about due process in a country with a poor record on political freedoms and human rights.
Abdusamadov implicated the IRPT as the ultimate organizer of the attack in a televised confession, but critics say the government is using the case to tar the opposition.
A dozen senior members of the IRPT are serving long sentences up to life on charges government critics say are trumped up.
In addition to Abdusamadov, 16 other people stand accused of not offering information to the authorities that could have prevented the attack, a source in the police told AFP.