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MYSTERY OF DEAD SKIER SOLVED - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Monday July 30, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

A skier who disappeared in the 1950s has been identified as the man whose remains were discovered on the Matterhorn more than 50 years later.



He is Frenchman Henri le Masne who went missing on his 35th birthday, 26th March 1954.

His remains, ski gear and some other belongings were recovered from a glacier at Valtournenche in the Aosta valley in July 2005.

But all attempts to identify him came to nothing until the findings of a painstaking scientific examination revealed in June this year that the man was probably a well-off Frenchman aged about 30.

The Italian state police released details of their findings and shared photographs of the items found, including clothing embroidered with the initials M M, some distinctive glasses and a watch.

Shirt with initials MMShirt with the initials M M











GlassesGlasses found with the remains











WatchOmega watch found with the remains













The information was passed on to other police forces across the Alps, shared on social media and picked up by news outlets, including us at PlanetSKI:

A French woman Emma Nassem heard the news broadcast on a radio programme and thought the mysterious Matterhorn man, Mr M, was likely to be her uncle, Henri le Masne, who had disappeared by skiing on the Matterhorn in the 1950s.

Her family provided photograph of Henri le Masne wearing glasses like those recovered with the remains.

Henris le MasneHenri le Masne


















A DNA sample taken from Ms Nassem's father Roger - the younger brother of Henri le Masne, who is now 95 - confirmed it and allowed the Italian police to close this coldest of cold cases.

Henri le Masne, who was single, was born in 1919, worked at the Ministry of Finance in Paris and lived in the French capital.

He is said to have loved the peace and solitude of the mountains and often went skiing or hiking in the Aosta on his holidays.

According to his brother the dangers of the mountain did not frighten him.

He had been skiing alone when he vanished.

Henri le Masne's wooden skisHenri le Masne's wooden skis












PHOTOS:  Italian National Police (Polizia di Stato )

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