20th February 2023
The bones were uncovered on a glacier in the Val de Bagnes in the autumn. They have now been formally identified as those of a 32-year-old man who disappeared in the area in 1974. NEW
The discovery was made on 5th September 2022 when the Valais Cantonal Police went to the Corbassière glacier on the Hauts de la commune Val de Bagnes.
They unearthed the bones from the ice.
Checks at the time suggested that the remains were likely to be those of a British man reported missing in the Grand-Combin sector on December 31st, 1974.
DNA was taken and, following collaboration between the police services of Great Britain and the Valais Cantonal Police via Interpol, they have now been able to confirm the identity.
Although a press released issued by Valais Police does not name the man, local media report that he was David Browning, a British citizen who was living in the Lausanne region of Switzerland.
He and his French companion failed to return from a mountaineering trip to the Grand Combine area of the Valais.
Despite a huge search at the time, no sign of them was found.
No avalanches were reported in the area and it was assumed they must have fallen in a crevasse.
The body remained hidden under the ice for almost 48 years.
Last summer’s record-high temperatures in the Alps accelerated the melting of the glaciers and revealed the remains.
As climate change impacts alpine glaciers, their secrets are being uncovered more and more regularly.