Miraculous Rescue as Woman Survives 2 Days and 2 Nights in 50-Foot Swiss Glacier Crevasse

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The woman, dressed in shorts, spent 2 days and 2 nights down this hole. Credit: Air Zermatt AG

A Russian tourist, who lives in Germany, is recovering in hospital after falling 50-feet into a crevasse on a Swiss mountain and being stuck there for two days and two nights. Rescue crews said they have not seen such a miraculous rescue in over 20-years.

The 43-year-old woman had gone out walking alone, against the advice of staff at the mountain hut where she was staying, along the Gorner Glacier in the southwestern Valais canton on Sunday in shorts and without any appropriate mountaineering equipment. 

Rescuers extracting the fallen tourist. Credit: Air Zermatt AG

While walking over the glacier, at about 13,000-feet, she fell into a crevasse and landed on an ice bridge inside the fissure. A group of passing climbers, who had taken a detour due to snow holes in the glacier, heard her calls for help on Tuesday, two full days later, and raised the alarm.

The Air Zermatt Helicopter Rescue Crew manage to extract her and fly her to the nearest hospital. While uninjured, her body temperature had dropped to 34ºC (93.2ºF), some 3ºC lower than the average for a healthy human.

Considering the woman was out alone, and no missing persons report was received by the police, it is indeed a miracle that the group of climbers passed when they did.

Rescuers on the scene. Credit: Air Zermatt AG
Credit: Air Zermatt AG

Monte Rosa is a mountain massif located in the eastern part of the Pennine Alps. It is located between Italy (Piedmont and Aosta Valley) and Switzerland (Valais). Monte Rosa is the second highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe, after Mont Blanc.

The Gorner Glacier is a valley glacier found on the west side of the Monte Rosa massif close to Zermatt in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. It is about 12.4 km (7.7 mi) long (2014) and 1 to 1.5 km (0.62 to 0.93 mi) wide. The entire glacial area of the glacier related to Gorner Glacier is 57 km2 (22 sq mi) (1999), which makes it the second-largest glacial system in the Alps after the Aletsch Glacier system; however, it ranks only third in length behind the Aletsch and Fiescher Glacier, respectively. Numerous smaller glaciers connect with the Gorner Glacier. Its (former) tributaries are Gornergletscher (after which the whole system is named, but the upper part is now disconnected from the lower part), Monte Rosa Gletscher, Grenzgletscher (nowadays by far its main tributary, now disconnected from the actual Gornergletscher), Zwillingsgletscher, Schwärzegletscher, Breithorngletscher, Triftjigletscher, and Unterer Theodulgletscher (although the last three ones are actually disconnected now).

Monte Rosa, Switzerland
Monte Rosa mountain, Switzerland

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