French skier who went missing in Alps in 1954 finally identified

12:56 • 30.07.18



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.


Human remains and ski equipment were found in 2005 more than 10,000 ft up the Cime Bianche in the Valtournenche valley of the Aosta region near the Swiss border in northern Italy, the Daily Mail reports. 

 

Investigators estimated the man to have been about 5ft 9ins tall and aged about 30, with his death likely occurring in the spring. They also found top-line wooden skis, glasses, a watch and pieces of his shirt with embroidered initials. 


But having made no progress with the 64-year mystery, 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.


Roger Le Masne, Henri's younger brother and now 94, also came forward as the 64-year-old mystery began to unravel.


“I am the brother of Henri Le Masne ... who is likely the skier who disappeared 64 years ago. 


“He was a bachelor and quite independent. He worked in the finance ministry in Paris,” Roger said in an email made available by the police.


He also told The Times: 'We had become accustomed to the idea that we would never know what happened. But I am very pleased that his body has been found.


“I believe in eternal life and the resurrection after death and I believe that would have happened for my brother even if he had not been found.


“But it is still better that he has been found, so that we could organise a funeral ceremony for him. He would have been 100 next year.”


Henri is said to have checked into the Hotel Gran Baita in Cervinia on March 13, 1954 but went missing two weeks later on what was hiss 35th birthday. He is thought to have perished after becoming caught in a storm in the valley while downhill skiing. 


Roger said he had gone to the hotel where his brother and where he found some personal effects, including money, after he disappeared.


The police said a photograph provided by the family showed glasses matching those found by the investigators.





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