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High-altitude falls and rockslides kill 6 climbers in the Swiss Alps, police say

Six mountaineers have plunged to their deaths or been killed by rockslides in the southern Swiss Alps in a matter of days, police said Wednesday.

Two climbers — a 37-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman from Zurich — died on Tuesday as they were trying to scale Lagginhorn, which towers above the chic Saas Fee ski resort in Wallis canton, the Valais canton regional police said.

"After reaching an altitude of around 3,960 metres (nearly 13,000 feet), the two climbers for an unknown reason fell about 200 metres into the void," a statement said.

Police also said a 19-year-old man from Bern had fallen and died on Monday while scaling back down the Stockhorn mountain, part of the plush Zermatt resort ski area.

Police also said a 19-year-old man fell and died while scaling back down the Stockhorn mountain. Wallis canton police

In a party of rope climbers, he had slipped and fallen and "was then likely mortally wounded by a rock," police said.

The Valais canton police had previously said two other mountaineers — a 26-year-old Frenchman and a 36-year-old Dutch national — also died Monday in a rockslide while climbing the 3,540-metre Aiguille du Tour on the Swiss side of the Mont-Blanc range.

A climber injured in the incident — a 22-year-old Dutch national — remained in critical condition, police told the ATS-Keystone news agency Wednesday.

And, on Sunday, a 47-year-old German-Ukrainian national was killed while trying to scale the 4,506 metre (14,867 feet) Weisshorn, Switzerland's second highest peak.

He plunged 600 metres, according to the police, who have launched investigations into all the deadly incidents.

The regional police service reported last week that the remains of a German climber who had been missing since 1986 were recovered on a glacier in the Swiss Alps. Climbers found the remains as well as some equipment on the glacier, called Theodule, on July 12.

Officials transported the remains to a hospital where "DNA comparisons allowed to establish that this was an alpinist who had disappeared in September 1986," police said.

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