THE HIGHEST mountain range in Slovakia, the High Tatras, claimed two more lives on the morning of August 31 when two English-speaking tourists perished on the slopes of the highest peak of the range – Gerlachovský Štít, which reaches 2,665 metres.
The couple started their hike to Gerlachovský Štít on Monday morning, August 30, at about 8:00. But they contacted the rescue service at 21:00 that evening during their descent from the peak and reported they were in trouble. However, incorrect information that they gave to the Mountain Rescue Service about their location and bad weather complicated efforts to locate them, Jozef Janiga, the director of the rescue service, told the SITA newswire. The two tourists were not found until Tuesday morning, August 31, and both were in very poor condition and subsequently died.
According to Janiga, the couple made mistakes by setting out on the hike too late and by underestimating their fitness as well as the variable conditions in the mountains, as the temperature dropped dramatically and it began to snow.
“Hikers usually start for Gerlach in the morning at 5:00 or 6:00 from the Sliezsky Dom cottage,” Janiga said, as quoted by SITA.
The attempt to save the hikers was joined by 27 mountain rescuers, some of whom were deployed for 18 hours straight, SITA reported.
The High Tatras experienced a spell of very cold weather at the end of August and a third-degree avalanche warning was issued for some parts of the mountains.
6. Sep 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff