Climbers reported missing on Matterhorn found safe in car park

Climbers reported missing on Matterhorn found safe in car park

There was a mixture of confusion and relief this week, after the emergency services reported that three climbers who had not returned after their attempt to climb the Matterhorn were found safe and sound. However, instead of rescuing them from the heights of the famous mountain, the police managed to find the three mountaineers in a very strange and quite normal refuge: a car park.

Air Zermatt conducts rescue operation on Matterhorn

On June 14 at 9.30pm, Air Zermatt - the main helicopter rescue service for Swiss ski resorts and mountain communities in the west of the country - received a distress call from the Valais Cantonal Relief Organisation (OCVS) which required an emergency operation on the Matterhorn. During the summer, many experienced climbers seeking an adrenaline thrill in Switzerland try to tackle the famous and, depending on your approach, very dangerous peak.

Speaking to Le Matin, a spokesperson from Air Zermatt confirmed that five mountain climbers from France had decided to try and summit the mountain, but two of them decided to turn back. Sadly, a few hours later the two climbers, now safely back in Zermatt, lost contact with the three still trying to scale the mountain. 

They then called the emergency services and a helicopter was soon deployed to try and find and rescue the three men. This operation later turned out to be Air Zermatt’s second rescue operation of the 2023 summer season.

Rescuees had swapped cliff for car park

After a few hours of searching the mountain with bright searchlights, many officials were losing hope and fearing the worst for the three still missing climbers. That was until Air Zermatt got a phone call from the local police that turned the daring rescue operation into a bit of a farce.

Much to their relief and somewhat amusement, the spokesperson confirmed that a police patrol had found the three missing climbers in the parking garage of the Täsch Matterhorn Terminal. While it remains to be revealed how the three managed to get down the mountain and lose contact with their friends, that mobile phone with a dead battery or sat phone with inexplicably no signal will likely cost the three a pretty penny in insurance fees.

Thumb image credit: Stefano Ember / 

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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