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American skier found dead in Swiss Alps 6 months after disappearance

By Doug G. Ware
Harrison Fast, 28, was killed in the Swiss Alps in March after he and a group of skier friends were caught off guard by an abrupt winter storm on the 11,300-foot-tall Jungfrau mountain. His body was discovered on Aug. 26, officials said Friday. Photo courtesy Harrison Fast Family
Harrison Fast, 28, was killed in the Swiss Alps in March after he and a group of skier friends were caught off guard by an abrupt winter storm on the 11,300-foot-tall Jungfrau mountain. His body was discovered on Aug. 26, officials said Friday. Photo courtesy Harrison Fast Family

BERN, Switzerland, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The body of an extreme skier from the United States who disappeared after a severe storm in the Swiss Alps on Easter Sunday has been found, authorities said Friday.

Harrison Fast was with a group of several people speedfly skiing on Switzerland's Jungfrau mountain on March 26 when a bad winter storm approached and they became separated. Speedflying is a combination of downhill skiing and paragliding.

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Some members of the group reached safety themselves while others were rescued by helicopter. Fast, however, was never located on the 11,300-foot mountain. Search teams eventually called off the search.

Friday, Swiss authorities announced they found Fast's body last week while they were conducting another search on nearby Eiger mountain. His remains were confirmed via DNA testing.

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"I'm thankful. This has been so difficult for our family," Fast's sister, Suzanne, told Colorado's Summit Daily newspaper Friday.


Harrison Fast (community)/Facebook

"While the book was still open we were able to envision all kinds of happy endings even though we knew better intellectually," Fast's mother, Jane, said in a Facebook post Thursday. "With the latest chapter being written, the emotions have been difficult."

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Sudden winter storms are notoriously problematic and highly dangerous in mountain climbing circles. By the time bad weather arrives, it's often too late for hikers to get out from under it, experts say.

"The family of Harrison Fast is relieved, yet deeply saddened, to announce the discovery of his remains on the top of Jungfraujoch," the family said in a statement.

Relatives say Fast, 28, a mechanical engineering graduate in college, was an innovative mind and owned several patents. He also worked with an entertainment company in Colorado that specializes in 3D technologies.

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