Two young women mountaineers died from the cold when they failed to find refuge from a sudden storm that broke out unexpectedly after they became lost.
Martina Sviluppo, 29, and Paola Viscardi, 28, lost their lives during a climb on the Vincent Pyramid mountain, part of the Monte Rosa Massif, a mountain massif in the eastern part of the Pennine Alps.
It lies between the Italian region Piedmont and Aosta Valley and the Swiss region Valais and the tragedy happened over the weekend (Saturday, 3 of July).
Despite the weather forecast warnings for that day, the climbing pair along with a male friend, Valerio Zolla, 27, decided to spend their Saturday taking on an easy high-altitude mountaineering climb to the mountain’s summit.
According to reports, the climbers made it to the top of the mountain safely. During the descent, they lost their way and started wandering around trying to find the correct path. Due to the fact that they were still located at a high altitude with mist from low lying clouds, their visibility was very poor.
During their search for the right path, a storm with strong winds broke out.
The climbers made their first call for help to the single rescue center in Aosta, but they were not able to indicate their exact position at 2 pm. All of the other telephone calls were interrupted, because of the storm.
A helicopter was sent to check out the area and it repeatedly flew over the area in an attempt to spot the climbers.
After a while they managed to make another phone call, this time adding more information.
The three climbers were spotted late in the afternoon, just below the mountain summit at 4,150 metres (13,6 feet), but the helicopter was not able to land right away due to bad weather.
During the rescue, both of the girls suffered frostbite preventing them from walking, so they were carried down to the location where the helicopter was waiting for them.
Martina suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during the helicopter ride. On the other hand Paola arrived alive, but unconscious at the Mantova refuge where doctors tried to wake her up. She died later in the night.
Their friend Valerio was transported to Switzerland, where he was hospitalized.
The two friends were known for being biology enthusiasts and their love for the mountains.
A few months before the tragic incident, during the lockdown, Paola wrote to her friend on social media: “We will return to hug each other in our mountains…”