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
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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.


Israeli student murdered in Australia while on phone with sister

Updated 28 min 2 sec ago
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Israeli student murdered in Australia while on phone with sister

  • Police appealed to the public for help tracking down the killer of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found near Melbourne University
  • Police are still investigating the case

SYDNEY: An Israeli student has been killed in a late-night attack in Australia while she was speaking on the phone with her sister, police said Thursday.
Police appealed to the public for help tracking down the killer of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe, whose body was found early Wednesday near the campus of the Melbourne university where she was studying.
“This was an horrendous, horrific attack inflicted on a completely innocent young woman who was a visitor to our city,” Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told reporters in Melbourne Thursday.
Maasarwe, who was reportedly five months into a year-long exchange at Melbourne’s LaTrobe University, was riding a tram home from a comedy club to the suburb of Bundoora before she was met by her attacker around midnight.
She was talking on the phone with her sister, who was overseas and raised the alarm after something went awry mid-conversation, police said.
“(Her sister) heard the sound of the phone falling to the ground and heard some voices,” Stamper said.
Her body was found Wednesday morning by passers-by at 7:00am about 50 meters (165 feet) from the stop where she exited the tram.
Stamper said the report from her sister came in at about the same time.
Police would not confirm reports they were investigating a sexual assault but said known sex offenders are an “active line of enquiry.”
Officers retrieved a black baseball cap and a grey t-shirt they believe were worn by the perpetrator from the crime scene, which they described as “very distressing.”
The victim’s family, who are on their way to Australia, described Maasarwe as “happy,” “adventurous” and “smart.”
“I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it... the day before my wife had said to me, ‘We’ll have to go to Australia, Australia’s very safe, very nice’,” the victim’s uncle Rame Maasarwe told national broadcaster ABC from the United States.
“We cannot believe that something like this happened in Australia, we think it’s very safe there.”
Maasarwe was reportedly planning to go to China to work with her father’s business after her studies.
Police said they were “confident” of finding the perpetrator.