British climber's body found 34 years after doomed Matterhorn attempt



The body of a climber who died while attempting to conquer the Matterhorn 34 years ago has finally been found.

Jonathan Conville went missing in 1979 when he was just 27 after he fell from the 14,690ft peak, located in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy.

At the time of his Matterhorn attempt, ex-paratrooper Jonathan was working as an outdoor instructor at the Outward Bound Trust at Loch Eil in Scotland.

Searches for his body were unsuccessful, but now, melting glacial ice - believed to be a result of global warming - has revealed his remains, which will finally be reunited with his family.


Jonathan's remains were found by one of the world's top mountain rescue helicopter pilots, Gerold Biner, when he spotted some abandoned equipment.

He found bones inside the clothing there, and a name tag with the word 'Conville' on it.

The remains were sent to the laboratory of forensic pathologist Bettina Schrag, who found his family details after searching the name in Google and discovering the website of a charity set up in Jonathan's name, the Jonathan Conville Memorial Trust.

His sister, Melissa Conville, told the Guardian: "As soon as I saw the email was from a Swiss pathology laboratory, I knew they'd found Jonathan."


Melissa and Jonathan's other sister, Katrina Taee, both travelled to Switzerland to identify their brother's equipment and provide DNA samples.

Mrs Taee told the Daily Mail: "It was poignant. There was a mummified hand, with nails and skin, and cupped, as if it was waiting to be held.

"It was 34 years on and I was holding my brother's hand. It was bittersweet but wonderful. It took ages for the DNA results to come through but they confirmed what we already knew."

She added that the family were still deciding where to scatter his ashes, but that it will be "somewhere in the mountains he loved".

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