- Marina Wentzel
- From Basel (Switzerland) for BBC Brazil
23 minutes ago
A 35-year-old Brazilian has been missing in the Swiss Alps for almost a week. Henrique Cortez Pires de Campos has been on vacation in the country since the beginning of the month and disappeared in the region of Lauterbrunnen, a village in the canton of Bern known for receiving practitioners of extreme sports.
The sportsman disappeared after leaving alone to do a trail known to be high risk, which involves crossing crevices over glaciers.
He informed the inn where he was staying that he would spend two nights out to make a walking route towards one of the most popular peaks among base jumpers — in the region, there is a rock formation nicknamed “the hole”.
Henrique is a practitioner of this extreme sport modality that consists of jumping from great heights with a special suit, which allows him to glide in the air.
The jump can be from buildings, antennas, bridges, mountains or cliffs and requires the athlete to know the right moment and position to jump, taking into account risks such as wind speed and obstacles on the way.
The Brazilian was considered an experienced practitioner of the sport and had already visited the Lauterbrunnen region on other occasions. The owner of the establishment where he stayed told BBC News Brazil that she remembers other visits.
“Yes, he has stayed with us three or four times before,” said Elsbeth von Allmen-Müller of the Gästehaus im Rohr guesthouse. “We receive a lot of Brazilians and we really like them, the traveling groups usually come in the summer [do hemisfério norte]in July and August”.
According to her, the Brazilian had already passed through the inn this season and was known and loved by other base jumpers. Switzerland is very popular with sports people who enjoy jumping off cliffs and mountains because of the numerous rocky peaks of the Alps.
The famous rock formation in the region is considered dangerous and presents the challenge of jumping from a higher peak and, gliding with dexterity, crossing during the flight the narrow gap between two rocks.
“He promised me he wouldn’t try to jump, he said he just wanted to walk up there to see what it was like,” Elsbeth said. According to her, Henrique’s plan was to leave the inn and follow a long trail that led from the village to the rock formation.
It is estimated that he left the inn on Wednesday (21/09) around 7 am. On the way he would spend the night in rustic cottages closer to the top. He should be back after two nights.
The day before departure, on Tuesday night, he even bought groceries for the hike at the local grocery store, as his credit card records reveal. The police are trying to break the confidentiality of the Brazilian’s cell phone to obtain the last location of the device.
“He said he would be back on Friday, but as he didn’t show up, we were concerned and alerted local authorities,” says Elsbeth.
Searches began on the ground on Friday and, on Saturday (24/09), flights were carried out over the Stechelberg mountain trail region. The land searches, however, could not be completed effectively, because part of the route is over a glacier and can only be crossed in good weather.
By email, police in the canton of Bern, where Lauterbrunnen is located, told BBC News Brazil that the search would continue. So far, no traces such as mountaineering equipment left along the way have been found.
With the beginning of autumn, the tendency is that the cold will get worse in the coming weeks and the bad weather will intensify even more. A rescuer explained that the searches were hampered by snowfall at the top of the mountain.
Between 2000 and 2020, 60 people died base jumping in the Lauterbrunnen valley, according to Swiss Info.
At the time of publishing this report, the Itamaraty did not inform whether there are officially ongoing efforts on the case.
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