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Remains on Matterhorn are Japanese climbers gone since 1970

A mountain shoe found next to the remains of two Japanese climbers who disappeared in the Swiss Alps in 1970. Image copyright AFP/POLICE CANTONALE VALAISANNE
Image caption Police displayed a mountain shoe found next to the remains of the two Japanese climbers

Remains found at the foot of Switzerland's Matterhorn glacier have been identified as two Japanese climbers who disappeared 45 years ago.

DNA tests showed the bones belonged to the men, who went missing on the mountain in August 1970, police say.

The remains were discovered at an altitude of about 2,800m (9,200ft) in the Alps last September.

They are the latest to be found on the 4,478-metre (14,692-foot) Matterhorn as ice melts.

The Japanese consulate in Geneva identified the climbers as Michio Oikawa and Masayuki Kobayashi, AFP news agency reports. They were 22 and 21 respectively when they went missing.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Matterhorn's pyramidal shape makes it one of the world's most recognisable mountains

The consulate assisted police to track down family members to help compare their DNA profiles.

As Alpine glaciers melt because of global warming, the remains of long-lost climbers have increasingly been emerging from the shrinking mountain ice.

A mountain rescue pilot discovered remains and climbing equipment belonging to British climber Jonathan Conville, missing since 1979, in 2013 near the peak of the Matterhorn.

Last year the body of a Czech climber who disappeared 40 years ago following an accident was found in the Bernese Alps.

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