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POLICE

Berlin police left stumped by identity of unconscious jogger

Four months ago, a man fell into a coma after collapsing while jogging in a Berlin park. Police have followed every possible lead, but still have no idea who he is.

Berlin police left stumped by identity of unconscious jogger
A photo of the man, dated June 25th. Photo: DPA

On March 13th a man, probably in his 60s, collapsed while jogging through Volkspark Wilmersdorf in the west of the capital city. As he fell, he knocked his head off a stone and fell unconscious. Four months later, he still hasn't woken up.

By this stage worried family members, friends or neighbours would have normally made contact with authorities. Failing that, it is usually a fairly straightforward matter for police to track down his home and loved ones.

Not this time, though. The man is still lying in the intensive care station of the Charité hospital with no name next to his bed.

“We have never had such a case in Berlin,” a police spokeswoman said. “This is a completely new situation for our missing persons department. There is absolutely nothing to go on here.”

Investigators have tried everything in their attempt to figure out who on earth the man is.

Twice they have published photos of him, the first time without his prosthetic teeth, the second time with them. They have also published a photo of his key set, the only thing other than a couple of euros that he had in his pocket.

The keys have proved just as mysterious, though. The are produced by a large manufacturer but have no security code, a rarity which makes it impossible for the police to identify where the man lived.

Police say that the man was too well groomed to have been homeless. He was clean shaved, had healthy skin and had a trained, fit body.

It is possible that the man lived an extremely isolated life. But when police are confronted by such cases there is normally some tip off that puts them on the right path. An overflowing mailbox is reported by a neighbour, a doctor or dentist recognizes their patient’s face from the missing person’s report.

Another theory is that people know who the man is but are remaining silent.

In Germany at least, the man appears to have no skeletons in his closet. His fingerprint wasn’t found in police files, meaning he has never been suspected of a crime. An attempt to identity him via his DNA also hasn't produces results.

Another possibility is that the man was a tourist only staying temporarily in the city. But if that was the case, a hotel somewhere would have reported that a bill had been left unpaid and that a guest had left luggage in a room.

As long as no family turn up, a court appointed carer will make decisions related to the man’s well being. And, as it can not been established whether the man has health insurance, the hospital itself is carrying the hefty costs for his care.

At this stage it is also not clear how badly damaged his brain was during the fall. If he ever does wake up, it is possible that the man himself will no longer know who he is.

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POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

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