Mountain Climbers Disappeared On The Matterhorn In 1970, Found 45 Years Later

In 1970, two young hikers from Japan set off on an adventure to climb a mountain, but never returned home. Instead, they virtually disappeared. Now, 45 years later, their bodies have been found. The remains were found in a melting glacier, where they were presumably trapped for the past 45 years.

The Japanese young men, Michio Oikawa and Masayuki Kobayashi, set off on a trip together to climb the Matterhorn on August 18, 1970. Unfortunately, a sudden, unexpected snow storm hit the area, engulfing the camp they had erected at the base of the Matterhorn, reports the Huffington Post.

Although rescue teams searched for the climbers 45 years ago, the weather conditions were too severe, and their attempts failed. Stephane Vouardoux, a cantonal police spokesperson, discussed the tragedy that took place almost 45 years ago.

“They had spent the night before in a hut because they wanted to ascend the north face of the Matterhorn. They were probably surprised by a snow storm when they disappeared. The snow storm lasted a few days which prevented the rescue teams from searching.”

Once the remains were found, DNA testing was performed to determine the identities, according to the Swiss police.

“Research undertaken by cantonal police in cooperation with Japan’s consulate in Geneva led to finding members of their families in Japan. DNA comparisons proved that they were the remains of the two missing Japanese climbers.”

A dangerous mountain, the Matterhorn has claimed more than 500 lives in the 150 years since the first successful climb. According to Rappler, the canton police have kept records of all climbers who have gone missing in the Swiss canton of Valais since 1925.

Apparently, the recent melting of glaciers has led to several discoveries of lost hikers’ remains. British climber Jonathan Conville, who disappeared in 1979, was found near the peak of the Matterhorn in 2013. The remains of a Czech adventurer, who vanished in the early 1970s, were found 40 years later in the Bernese Alps.

Most surprising, however, were items found that dated back to prehistoric days. Artifacts, as well as remains, have been found in the region. The most notable discovery was the body of a man found in the Italian Alps. He died over 5000 years ago.

Experts said that avalanches are often the cause of the disappearances as the snowslides happen suddenly and have the potential to bury people under tons of snow, rock, and ice where they cannot be found.

The families of Michio Oikawa and Masayuki Kobayashi have been found and notified of the discovery. Even 45 years later, this must open up old wounds and lead to fresh grieving. Hopefully, it will also provide the families with much-needed closure, and the Inquisitr extends our sincere condolences to the families of both young men.

[Image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

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