French skier lost in 1954 in Italy finally identified

Henri La Masne

ROME: A French skier who went missing more than 60 years ago has finally been identified after details of a probe into his disappearance were posted on social media, Italian police said.

Human remains and ski equipment were found in 2005 more than 3,000 metres up the Cime Bianche in the Valtournenche valley of the Aosta region near the Swiss border in northern Italy.

The man appeared to be well off given his top-line wooden skis, said Marinella Laporta of the forensic police unit in Turin.

Investigators estimated the man to have been about 1.75 metres tall and aged about 30, with his death likely occurring in the spring. They also found glasses, a watch and pieces of his shirt with embroidered initials.

Having made no progress with identification, the Aosta valley prosecutor decided in late June to post the investigation’s findings on his Facebook page, asking readers to spread the information, especially in France and Switzerland.

Frenchwoman Emma Nassem heard the story on the radio and said the missing man could be her uncle, Henri Le Masne, born in 1919, who went missing after skiing in a storm near the Matterhorn in 1954. — AFP

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