Best friends freeze to death after making fatal mistake on mountain

·3-min read

A pair of best friends and avid mountaineers have spent their final moments together after making a fatal mistake on a recent climb. 

Martina Sviluppo, 29, and Paola Viscardi, 28, lost their lives during a climb on the Vincent Pyramid mountain on the Pennine Alps on the Italian border. 

The two young women ultimately froze to death when they failed to find refuge from a sudden storm that broke out unexpectedly after they became lost during the climb. 

The pair were found by a rescue team still clinging to life between the Italian region of the Aosta Valley and the Swiss region Valais after setting off on July 3.

Despite the weather forecast warnings for that day, the climbing pair along with a male friend, Valerio Zolla, 27, decided to spend their Saturday taking on an easy high-altitude climb to the mountain's summit.

Italian climbers Martina Sviluppo (left) Paola Viscardi (right) froze to death on Monte Rosa after their climb took fatal turn. Source: Newsflash/Australscope
Italian climbers Martina Sviluppo (left) Paola Viscardi (right) froze to death on Monte Rosa after their climb took fatal turn near the Italian border. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

According to reports, the climbers made it to the top of the mountain safely. During the descent, they lost their way and started wandering around trying to find the correct path. Due to the fact that they were still located at a high altitude with mist from low lying clouds, their visibility was very poor.

During their search for the right path, a storm set in and strong winds broke out.

The climbers made their first call for help to the single rescue centre in Aosta at about 2pm but they were not able to indicate their exact position. All of the other telephone calls were interrupted, because of the storm.

A helicopter was dispatched and repeatedly flew over the area in an attempt to spot the climbers.

After a while they managed to make another phone call, this time adding more information as to their whereabouts. 

Climbers spotted in dire situation 

The three climbers were spotted late in the afternoon, just below the mountain summit at 4,150 metres however the helicopter was not able to land right away due to bad weather.

During the rescue, both of the girls suffered frostbite preventing them from walking, so they were carried down to the location where the helicopter was waiting for them.

Italian climber Paola Viscardi made it to hospital, but didn't make it past the first night.
Italian climber Paola Viscardi made it to hospital, but didn't make it past the first night.Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Ms Sviluppo suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during the helicopter ride while Ms Viscardi arrived alive but unconscious at the Mantova refuge where doctors tried to wake her up. Sadly, she died later in the night.

Their friend Mr Zolla was transported to Switzerland, where he was hospitalised.

The two friends were known for being biology enthusiasts and for their immense love for climbing.

It wasn't the first time a change in weather had disrupted a climb for Ms Sviluppo.

According to Italy24News, on May 30 she posted a message on Facebook while on Alpe Devero as the weather took a turn.

"When nature decides to raise the curtain just for you, the only spectator, you can only cry with emotion," she wrote.

A few months before the tragic incident, during a lockdown in the country, Ms Viscardi wrote to her friend on social media: "We will return to hug each other in our mountains..."

with Australscope

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