A British tourist plunged 300ft to his death in Austria while climbing an aerial staircase popular in Instagram photos, reports say.
The 42-year-old – whose name has not been publicly released – plunged into a valley in the Dachstein mountains near Salzburg, Austria, last Tuesday, according to the Mirror.
The website said two helicopter crews and multiple police rushed to the scene after the man fell off the edge of a 120-foot ladder known as a via ferrata, which climbers can traverse between cliffs.
The person was reportedly alone on the stairs and those investigating the fall have ruled out third-party negligence as a cause, The Mirror also reported.
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“According to the conclusion of the police investigation, it is clearly an accident,” a police spokesman also told the Daily Mail, according to the website.
The 6,739-foot Grosser Donnerkogel Mountain Stairway is described on a Dachstein tourism website as the “ultimate adrenaline rush” and “the highlight of any climbing tour.”
“The new 40m Sky Staircase is the new TOP attraction [in] the Zwieselalm [region] for climbing enthusiasts. Freely, the 40m long sky ladder takes you down a deep gorge to the ‘Donnermandel’. Pure emotions!” continues.
“In addition to an adrenaline rush, the climb offers a fantastic view of the Dachstein Glacier, the surrounding mountains and the entire Gosau Valley,” the website also states.
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In 2020, gymnast Stephanie Millinger, who describes herself as an “extreme athlete” on her Instagram account, posted a video online of herself hanging from a ladder with only one arm while performing.
AVA, a tour company that offers via ferrata hikes in Colorado, says the ladders allow people with limited climbing experience to traverse mountainous terrain that would otherwise be challenging or inaccessible.
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“For this reason, they are usually found in alpine areas, especially in Europe and North America,” he says. “Via Ferratas can vary in length, with shorter routes lasting only around an hour and longer routes requiring more time and physical flexibility.”