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Frozen Stiff

Elderly German Franz Maier, 73, froze to death just a few hundred yards away from the mountain guesthouse that he was trying to reach when he was trapped in a sudden snowstorm.

Maier and pal Heinrich Baum, 65, who were well-equipped, were stranded with zero visibility when a sudden snowstorm with winds of up to 100 miles an hour struck the Hohen Taurn mountain range in Austria.

The 65-year-old who was unable to go on took shelter between two boulders while his 73-year-old pal pressed ahead - but then ran out of energy just a few hundred yards away from the Arthur-von-Schmid-Haus where they were supposed to stay the night.

The guesthouse owner said that he assumed the pair had gone home and it was only when they did not turn up later to meet their wives that the alarm was raised. By that time the older man had died. His frozen body was recovered three days later.

Yet incredibly the 65-year-old who was exposed in the open for three days managed to survive although his temperature had fallen to 29C by the time he was taken by helicopter to intensive care.

He was still awake when found and waved a red anorak to attract the attention of rescuers.

Police said that the pair had been hiking in the mountains in the area for 40 years together and that the hike was normally one that would not take more than 5 to 6 hours.

German Herald

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