Bodies on Swiss glacier are of couple missing since 1942

The couple were discovered last Thursday preserved in the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,600m. Backpacks, a watch and other personal belongings had been preserved in the ice nearby.
The couple were discovered last Thursday preserved in the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,600m. Backpacks, a watch and other personal belongings had been preserved in the ice nearby.PHOTO: NYTIMES

GENEVA • DNA tests have established that the remains found on a receding glacier last week in the Swiss Alps were of a couple who disappeared 75 years ago, police said yesterday.

"The remains recovered on the glacier have been formally identified," police in Switzerland's Valais canton said in a statement. "They are of Mr Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine, who disappeared tragically on Aug 15, 1942."

The couple had left their home in the village of Chandolin that morning hoping to check in on their cattle, which were being kept in an alpine pasture in neighbouring Bern canton. The fastest route at the time was via a glacier footpath.

The sky was clear when they set out, but clouds later worsened visibility and they vanished, likely after falling into a crevasse, orphaning five sons and two daughters.

They were discovered last Thursday - preserved in the Tsanfleuron glacier at an altitude of 2,600m - by an employee of a local ski resort. Backpacks, a watch and other personal belongings had been preserved in the ice nearby.

One of their surviving children, Ms Monique Gautschy, said police called to inform her of the definitive identification early yesterday. Relatives have said the discovery would give them a chance for closure and to organise the funeral that the Dumoulins never received.

Their funeral will take place on Saturday, Ms Gautschy said, adding that she "would love to see them before then, just to embrace them".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Bodies on Swiss glacier are of couple missing since 1942'. Print Edition | Subscribe