Man missing on the Hochkalter: mountain rescue service is feverishly looking for a cell phone signal

Ice, fresh snow, danger of avalanches and staying out in the cold for days: the hopes of the Berchtesgaden mountain rescue service to find the 24-year-old from Lower Saxony alive on the Hochkalter are dwindling.

Man missing on the Hochkalter: mountain rescue service is feverishly looking for a cell phone signal

Ice, fresh snow, danger of avalanches and staying out in the cold for days: the hopes of the Berchtesgaden mountain rescue service to find the 24-year-old from Lower Saxony alive on the Hochkalter are dwindling. And yet the rescuers continue to try to locate his cell phone.

When searching for a mountaineer who had an accident on the Hochkalter in the Berchtesgaden Alps, rescue workers found a weather balloon in the deep snow. "At least then you know that the system works," said a spokesman for the mountain rescue service in the afternoon. The rescuers are therefore optimistic that they will also locate the missing 24-year-old. "If they have their notebook or cell phone with them, you can be sure that we'll find them."

However, it is very expensive to use. In the morning, a helicopter with a so-called Recco buoy was able to fly over the Hochkalter near Ramsau near Berchtesgaden for the first time. Semiconductors can be located using sonar; the young man probably had a laptop with him as well as a mobile phone. "It's expensive," said the mountain rescue spokesman, looking at the first find. "Then you put two people down, they dig in the snow and then it's a weather balloon. There could be something else lying around." Weather balloons raise meteorologists to collect weather data. After bursting, they fall back to the ground.

The 24-year-old from Lower Saxony set off on a high alpine tour on Saturday on Hochkalter in Ramsau near Berchtesgaden when it snowed. After a fall on the normal route, which had already been difficult in the summer and had easier climbing sections, he made an emergency call at an altitude of around 2,500 meters. In it, according to the Bavarian Red Cross, to which the mountain rescue service belongs, he initially said he broke both his arms and injured his head, but later stated on the phone that he was not seriously injured. But he is in terrain where there is a risk of falling and it is so steep and slippery that he can hardly stand.

After the emergency call, a large-scale operation began with snowfall, ice, heavy rain, wind and fog at temperatures as low as minus six degrees. The mountain rescuers searched for the caller with several helicopters and on foot. The 24-year-old was unable to follow instructions to climb the ridge, where the rescuers could have helped him more easily. "He said he can't do it anymore because he's so cold," said the spokesman for the mountain rescue service.

The bad weather and the challenging conditions with snow three meters high in the high alpine terrain made the search in the past few days largely impossible. The conditions are still adverse because another meter and a half of fresh snow has fallen. There is no secure underground, the mountain rescue team said. The hopes of finding the 24-year-old alive are therefore increasingly dwindling. The mountain rescue service is optimistic that they will be able to continue the search on Thursday.

Those responsible do not consider the use of foot troops to be expedient and, despite all security measures, to be too risky. At an altitude of 2400 to 2500 meters, where the missing person is suspected, it was around minus 15 degrees in the morning. It was said that rescue teams would only be sent out to rescue him and bring him down into the valley once the casualty had been specifically located. However, hopes of finding the 24-year-old alive are dwindling.

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