On a fateful Tuesday afternoon, two Polish tourists met their end on a fiercely icy slope of Sněžka, the highest peak in the Czech Republic. They slipped right below the peak at the start of the so-called chain path. Their bodies hurtled almost a kilometer into the valley of the Lomnicka River. The rescue team extricated the victims using climbing ropes and transported them to nearby Karpacz.
The rescue team at the site found the bodies of the two individuals. They had succumbed to their injuries sustained from a fall of approximately 900 meters, rolling from the peak of Sněžka into the basin of Lomnicka, as reported by the Polish mountain service on Facebook.
Witnesses said that the tourists rolled over the hard surface of the so-called ‘death chute’ into the ‘death river’ area, as the Poles call it, which has claimed many lives in past winters. The valley of the Polish river Lomnicka is nearly a kilometer deep and steep.
According to the Poles, the 23-year-old and 47-year-old men were not related. “They were not a family. They slipped right behind the Polish observatory,” they shared at the Krkonoše headquarters of GOPR in Karpacz.
Mountain rescuers searched until late in the afternoon with the help of helicopters for another person who, according to witnesses of the tragedy, had fallen into the nearly kilometer-deep steep valley of the Polish river Lomnicka. “The presence of a third person was not confirmed, and the search ended on Tuesday night,” confirmed Marek Fryš, spokesman for the Mountain Service of the Czech Republic.
The incident underscores that tourists often underestimate the dangers of icy mountains. At the end of last March, a young Czech tourist underestimated the dangers of icy mountains on the Polish Jubilee route. The woman, wearing running gear and rolling about four hundred meters down the icy slope of Sněžka, ended up with moderately severe injuries in the hospital. “Preventing tourists from accessing icy mountain trails is impossible, even in the case of the path from Sněžka. The Mountain Service is not competent for this, and I don’t know who is. Tourists should be aware of possible dangers themselves, and if they still set out on an icy path, then only with appropriate equipment,” says Fryš.