Austrian Times RSS FeedsLike the Austrian Times Facebook page!Follow us on Twitter!


Events for August
M T W T F S S
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Add your event FREE

Today

Videos


BurgKino

Pub Quiz everyTuesday at Johnny's Pub

Popular in Austria


Cosmo&Nanu

Helicopter pilot may face manslaughter charges

A helicopter pilot could face manslaughter charges after heavy cloud meant he failed to realise how high they were when he released a rope - and dropped a mountain rescue expert to his death.

Alpine policeman Franz Franzeskon, 52, and two colleagues were being lowered on a harness in a bid to rescue a 40-year-old climber trapped on the Grossvenediger mountain range in Austria's East Tyrol on Sunday.

But when freak high winds set in the pilot, who has not been named, released them onto the rock strewn ice face alongside the crevass below, apparently not realising how high they were.

Instead of a few feet the three fell 10 meters (32 feet), leaving Franzeskon dead and the two others critically injured.

Now the local public prosecutor in Innsbruck has opened an inquiry into the accident, investigating whether the pilot was to blame for the death.

'They apparently misjudged the distance they still had to go and fell some way on to rocks,' said one official.

Experts have established there was no technical problems with the helicopter.

Franzeskon died instantly in the fall while the two others suffered multiple injuries. One of the men has been allowed to leave the hospital but the other is suffering from multiple injuries and is an artificial coma after undergoing surgery for broken bones and internal injuries. Lienz hospital spokesman Alfred Fast said: "He responded well to the operation and is now in an artificial sleep."

Officials called off the original hunt for the climber at the time - his body was recovered late yesterday (Monday). Police said the man had been completely wedged headfirst into the glacier around 120 feet into the ice. They were forced to use a pneumatic hammer to widen the gap, and remove the body.

Franzeskon was the head of the local Alpine police force and his friend and regional police boss Helmut Tomac said: "A day like this one is the sort of day that you always have nightmares about. You hope the day like this will never happen."

He said the dead man had been a valuable asset to the force and a good friend.

The owner of the helicopter firm, Roy Knauss, has already been interviewed by police who want to know why the helicopter pilot released the rope. He told officers that the pilot had extensive experience in difficult flying conditions.

He said: "I have spoken to him. He was taking the rescuers to the ground when the clouds suddenly robbed him of vision. It was a dangerous situation and the information he had from them is that they were only 5 m above the ground. He decided to drop the helicopter 5 m and release them rather than put all four of them in danger."

Inspector Sylvester Wolsegger from the police force in Lienz who is heading the investigation said: "We can definitively rule out that there was a technical problem with the helicopter."

But he added that up until now they have not had any information from the pilot: "The man was up until now not yet ready to make a statement."

An expert report has also been commissioned.

Prosecutor Hansjörg Mayr declined to comment more other than to say: "He is facing potential manslaughter charges."

The Grossvenediger mountain lies at 3,657 metres and is Austria's fourth highest peak on the border of Salzburg and East Tyrol. It is the second time this month that rescue workers have been called into action to assist in a rescue on the mountain.

A spokesman for the Alpine police Norbert Zobel said that the safety of the rescuers was always paramount – but added that when it was still possible to save a life rescuers would often push things to the limit.

He said: "If we are talking about a dead body, then certainly there wouldn't be such risks taken."

Austrian Times


Are you on Facebook? Like the Austrian Times on Facebook and win great prizes!


Cosmo and Nanu
ORF Watch

Tag cloud:
Franzeskon  Lienz  mountain  friend  Police  prosecutor  multiple  Tyrol  problems  manslaughter  rescuers  injuries  dead  apparently  artificial  hospital  feet  Alpine  helicopter  charges

Latest News

 

Mum And Daughter Struck By Lightning In Pool
A mother and her daughter were hospitalised after they were struck by lightning in a swimming pool.

Police Nab Porn Star Who Filmed In Local Church
A woman accused of making a porn movie in a local church has been caught after an informant tipped off police that he recognised her by her breasts after an appeal for information.

Young Hip Hop Dancer Gets 18 Years For Drug Smuggling
A blonde hip hop dancer and charity worker promised an international career after she was spotted by a talent scout has been jailed for 18 years in Indonesia after her work offer turned out to have been part of an elaborate drugs con.

Teen Dying Of Cancer Killed At Charity Event After Ride In Porsche Goes Wrong
The family of a sick boy who was offered a trip in a high-performance Porsche because he was dying of cancer is suing the charity after the Porsche he was travelling in crashed head-on into oncoming traffic.

Japanese Pervert Planned Natascha Kampusch Style Kidnap
A Japanese man inspired by Austrian pervert Wolfgang Priklopil kidnapped a 10-year-old girl and kept her in a purpose-built cellar where he planned to train her to become the perfect wife.

German Hiker Yodels For Help After Getting Trapped In Cattle Grid
A portly hiker dressed in traditional Lederhosen was rescued after he yodeled for help after getting stuck for three hours in a cattle grid.

Austrian Wine Grower Sets New Record For Maturing Grapes
An award-winning Austrian winegrower is believed to have set a new record after leaving harvested grapes for an incredible nine months before fermenting them to create an ultra-sweet white and red wine.

Austrian Castle Owner Shocked By Airplane Wheel In Duck Pond
An Austrian castle owner got a shock after discovering this massive aircraft wheel had landed in his duck pond.

Glock Receives Austrian Award At Birthday Party
Austrian gun maker Gaston Glock has celebrated his 85th birthday with a huge ceremony in which the charitable work of himself and his wife Kathrin was honoured with a top Austrian award, and confirmation that this year two streets and a business park are to be named after him.

Sausage Surprise As Giant Wurst Is Pinched
Austrian police are hunting crooks who broke open a market stall and stole a 1.5 metre sausage worth over 2,000 EUR in the picture postcard village of St Michael in the region of Lungau.

 


Mala Vrata

The most popular stories –
last 7 days



Don't moan alone, the Ombudsman Investigates.

Why suffer in silence. Let off steam by letting our readers share your troubles. File your complaints about anything and everything here.

Our ombudsman David Rogers will try and help solve some of the problems from lazy civil servants through to incompetent companies – and at the very least the worst transgressors will end up in our weekly special report.


Austrian Zimmers