Extreme heat in Switzerland is melting glaciers at such a rate that wreckage from a plane crash more than 50 years ago and human remains are being discovered.
Remains of the 1968 plane were discovered in the Swiss Alps last week, while at least two skeletons were found separately, according to reports.
The plane pieces were discovered Thursday on the Aletsch Glacier in the canton of Valais, near the peaks of Jungfrau and Mönch, police said.
“Investigations have determined that the parts were from the wreckage of a Piper Cherokee, registration HB-OYL, which crashed at this location on June 30, 1968,” local officials said.
“Recovery work will be undertaken as soon as possible.”
The regional newspaper 24 Hours reported that a teacher, a chief medical officer and his son, all from Zurich, were on board and their bodies were discovered at the time.
He also reported that a mountain guide discovered the wreckage after hiking routes in the area were changed to account for melting snow and ice.
Many roads around the European Alps have had to be closed due to soaring temperatures on the continent.
Explaining why the wreckage was not found with the bodies 54 years ago, police added: ‘At the time of the accident, over 50 years ago, the technical means to recover the wreckage of aircraft in difficult terrain were limited.
“Due to the melting of the glaciers, especially in summer, it is therefore possible that other pieces or wreckage will be released from the ice.
‘In case of discovery, these elements must not be handled in order to avoid any risk of injury. They should be marked and reported to the police immediately.
Meanwhile, about two weeks ago, human remains were found on the Stockji Glacier located northwest of the Matterhorn.
There has been speculation in the European press about which remains may have been found.
But Swiss media suggest the Valais police list of missing people in the region is around three pages long.
Fears the number of deliberate fires could rise with another heat wave looming
According to the newspaper, two French mountaineers found the bones last Wednesday in Valais, on the Chessjen glacier, near an old path that ceased to be used ten years ago.
He quoted director Dario Andenmatten as suggesting the couple likely made the grisly discovery because they were using an old map and added that the skeleton had been airlifted the same day.
Mr Andenmatten said he expected the person to have died “in the 1970s or 80s”.
A hiker, Luc Lechanoine, told the Blick newspaper that the clothes they found were fluorescent, “80s style” and the mummified corpse was slightly damaged but almost complete.
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Lost Plane Wreckage and Bodies Emerge After Glacier Melts, Revealing Its Secrets