A centuries-old mystery has been solved after a melting glacier in the Austrian Alps yielded the body of a man – believed to have been a WWI soldier – who had been lost for decades.
The body was found on Sunday, September 27, in the Tiefenbach Glacier located in Italy’s province of South Tyrol. It was discovered at an elevation of 10,700 feet by a special team of alpine rescuers after a member of the group spotted “something yellow” while rappelling down a shaft of ice.
Upon closer investigation, the rescuers discovered the body of a man – dressed in an Italian Army uniform from WWI – lying underneath dozens of feet of glacial ice. His identity remains unknown.
The man’s remains were sent to an anthropologist on Monday, September 28 for autopsy who said that the man had died many years prior, with an estimated death occurring sometime between WWI and WWII.
It is believed that the man had likely been a soldier from either the Italian or Austro-Hungarian army that had become lost while traversing the glacier during a war-time mission.
Though some mystery and speculation still surrounds the identity of the soldier, his branch of service, and even the exact circumstances behind his demise, the unexpected discovery serves as a reminder of the sacrifices and dangers encountered by soldiers of the past.
The melted glacial ice also provided scientists with an opportunity to examine the effects of climate change and global warming on our planet. While the discovery of the man may only be a glimpse into the past, its emergence is a poignant reminder of just how dramatically our world is changing.