The bodies of a Swiss couple missing for 75 years have been found, perfectly-preserved, in a receding glacier, The Brisbane Times is reporting.
A worker manning the overnight shift at Les Diablerets ski resort discovered the bodies, 8,579 feet up, on the Tsanfleuron Glacier, near the town of Chandolin in the Swiss canton of Valais. And a family believes the bodies belong to their missing relatives.
Back in August 1942, Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin went on a routine mission to milk their cows, leaving their seven children at home. They never returned. Family members believed at the time that they’d fallen into a crevasse; over the next seven and a half decades, they never gave up hope that their relatives would be found.
The couple’s youngest daughter was four years old at the time. Now 79, youngest daughter Marceline Udry says that finding her parents brings this decades-long chapter of her family’s history to a close.
“We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day. I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.”
To be fair, it’s not 100 percent certain that the bodies found in Tsanfleuron Glacier are Mr. and Mrs. Dumoulin. Though the couple was carrying identification, and wearing clothes of the era, nobody will know for certain until DNA tests come back, says Bernhard Tschannen, director of the Glacier 300 project.
“The bodies were lying near each other. It was a man and a woman wearing clothing dating from the period of World War Two.”
The bodies of a Swiss couple who disappeared 75 years ago in the Alps were found at the edge of a melting glacier. https://t.co/p5MKL2Oxr5
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 18, 2017
After Mr. Dumoulin, a 40-year-old shoemaker at the time, and his wife, Francine, a 37-year-old schoolteacher, went missing, the siblings were split up.
“After a while, we children were separated and placed in families. I was lucky to stay with my aunt. We all lived in the region but became strangers.”
Now that the family believes the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Dumoulin have been found, daughter Marceline is planning on giving them the proper funeral they never had.
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) July 18, 2017
Glaciers are surprisingly good at preserving bodies, not just of humans, but of animals, such as wooly mammoths. The cold, dry air retards the growth of bacteria that would otherwise cause the bodies to decay. For this reason, Mt. Everest, for example, is littered with the perfectly-preserved bodies of climbers who have fallen into crevasses and died, or otherwise succumbed to the dangers of the mountain. Because moving the bodies is dangerous and burns precious energy, they’re almost always left there for eternity; as of this writing, according to BBC News, about 200-250 bodies are believed to be scattered around up there.
[Featured Image by FamVeld/Thinkstock]