A 55-year-old Belgian who had been missing in the Karwendel Mountains in Austria since Thursday was found alive on Sunday. The man was lying on the ground, severely hypothermic and injured in the leg. “But approachable,” said the rescue service.
The Belgian left on October 29 for a multi-day hut tour and wanted to cross the Karwendel Mountains in an easterly direction from the town of Scharnitz. He spent the night in three different mountain huts and then headed to the next hut, the Hallangerhaus, where he would never arrive.
The man had a telephone conversation with his brother on Thursday, that was the last he was heard from. On Saturday evening, the brother reported the incident to the police, after which the Schwaz mountain rescue service responded. “Unfortunately, the search had to be called off quickly due to the darkness,” says Alfred Wallenta of the rescue service.
A new attempt was made on Sunday morning. A police helicopter was able to see ‘something’ on an icy spot in the Vomperloch area on Sunday morning, not very far from a hunting lodge.
It soon became clear that it was the missing Belgian. The helicopter managed to land nearby. “The man was in a very exhausted condition,” said mountain rescuer Alfred Wallenta. ‘He was in bad shape. His body temperature was only 32 degrees. The man was lying down and had an injury to his foot. He was approachable but we have not yet heard anything about what happened. The Belgian was shaking violently and was immediately flown to the hospital in Schwaz.’
In any case, the mountain rescuers were very relieved. The Belgian apparently survived for three days in sub-zero temperatures in open terrain. That night it snowed again. “The hiker was very well equipped,” said mountain rescuer Wallenta, “which probably saved the man’s life.”