The remains of two Japanese climbers who disappeared in 1970, Michio Oikawa and Masayuki Kobayashi, have been found entombed in a glacier in the Swiss Alps.
The two set up their camp at the base of the 14,692-foot Matterhorn mountain in August 1970; they vanished when a surprise snowstorm hit the area, The Washington Post said.
On Thursday, authorities said they identified the remains of Kobayashi, 21, and Oikawa, 22, in July as rising temperatures melted ice in the area, Reuters reported.
“More and more regularly, the receding of glaciers permits the discovery of missing climbers after dozens of years,” police in Valais Canton, Switzerland, said in a statement quoted by The Post.
Reuters said about 30 climbers are still missing after disappearing over the last few decades.
As ice is melting and temperatures are rising, even older remains have been appearing, The Post said. Prehistoric human remains and artifacts have been found, including those of a 5,300-year-old man, who became known as the “Ice Man” in the Italian Alps.
The BBC reported that the remains of British climber
Jonathan Conville were found in 2013 near the Matterhorn peak. He went missing in 1979. In the Bernese Alps, the body of a Czech climber who disappeared 40 years ago was found.
The Japan Times reported that a database
of all missing climbers since 1925 is maintained to help with identification of remains as they are discovered.
Ed Crothers, of the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education, told the Times that missing hikers aren’t a thing of the past, citing five who went missing in 2014 on Mount Rainier in Washington state. Avalanches, in particular, may bury the bodies under rock and ice and make the area impossible for rescuers to reach.
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