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British Ski Instructor's Frozen Body Found In Austrian Mountain Hut

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
https://www.ladbible.com/news/news-british-ski-instructors-dead-body-found-in-austrian-mountain-hut-20210120?source=twitter

Such a terrible tragedy. Seems he died of carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire as the chimney had been blocked.
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RIP, sad news
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sad
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Very grim. It feels like half a story, did he break into a closed hut for shelter from bad weather? Why was he alone?
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Sad indeed, and the full story is quite weird: https://vorarlberg.orf.at/stories/3085488/

1. Despite the winter room being open, he broke into the main hut causing 5 figures worth of damage
2. He had bags of food and clothes with him, so seemed to be planning a long(er) term stay
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He worked for the region in summer and winter (ski instructor).
Could it be that through COVID he lost his income and flat so tried to take up refuge in the hut? Why else would he break into the hut if he had a place to live in the village?

In times like these I guess some people have a lot more to worry about than a ski holiday.
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@DB, I wondered that too
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This sounds like the final chapter in a much longer, and very sad, story.
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Sounds terrible. Poor sod.
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All very, very strange....Awful nonetheless.
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https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/briton-found-dead-in-remote-austrian-mountain-hut/ar-BB1cV6sy?ocid=msedgntp
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I met him a few times. The German language account in the local paper of what happened is a little more forthcoming. He had apparently broken into the hut (causing considerable damage) several days before his death and was ‚squatting‘ there. His suitcases were found, complete with personal possessions. By breaking into the main building he had avoided using the winter room which is, as usual, kept open during the entire winter for emergencies. The police were called put when members of the Alpinverein noticed the signs of the break-in.
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Extremely sad, but it does seem that there's a touch of Darwinism involved.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@queenie pretty please, do you say that whenever a homeless person dies due to their living circumstances? Putting a cap on a chimney seems to be a pretty risky thing to do, all it would take is an administrative error and your first group in summer would be killed. Plenty of chimney designs that manage to keep the snow out while letting smoke out. I don't know this guy's exact circumstances but from the sounds of it neither do you
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@rambotion, not at all and you're right I don't know all the circumstances. On the face of it, he didn't appear to be involuntarily homeless, and as a Brit in Austria he would need a registered address in order to be legally resident. I think it is fairly normal that mountain huts which are unoccupied in winter have measures in place to close the chimneys, and in any case he broke in and was there illegally. Of course it's totally tragic nonetheless.
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Wouldn’t the room have filled with smoke if the chimney was blocked?
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@queenie pretty please, it's not that hard to imagine that the absence of British tourists could cause a sufficiently severe decline in s British ski instructor's income that paying for rent on his registered address starts to become a challenge
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@queenie pretty please, any number of circumstances from mental health to eviction to rent poverty due to lack of work could have put him there. Doesn't sound like something just done for fun despite the breaking of the law.

The logic that he had a home in order to be legally resident seems flawed.
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@rambotion, @Dave of the Marmottes, yes I can see that he may have lost his job due to the Covid situation, plenty of people have. But they are thankfully not all breaking into remote huts to avoid paying the rent. Even as a British resident in Austria he would have the ability to register with the AMS and claim unemployment benefits assuming he was legally employed in the first place.

But this is all speculation of course. Yes mental health problems may have been a factor. Tragic.
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@BobinCH, that's an interesting question (I used to investigate incidents of CO poisoning for Coroners so know a little about the subject). Do any of the reports say what the fuel was? I don't know much about hypothermia but is it possible that the cold could make one oblivious to warning signs?
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@Yoda, It seems likely that the fuel would be wood. Don't know if you need it to be more specific than that, but a lot of wood is chopped and stacked in the Austrian Alps for use in mountain properties. On hypothermia, yes confusion and lack of awareness is absolutely one of the signs. Also, stress about the situation could cloud clear thinking.
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@Scarlet, I suspected it would be wood but wondered if there was specific information. Without further details one can only speculate, but I suppose it's possible that being extremely cold would override other considerations. Susceptibility to CO poisoning also appears to vary markedly between individuals sometimes. Heavy smokers (unlikely perhaps for a ski instructor?) can be almost "half way there" in terms of blood saturation.
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Yoda wrote:
Heavy smokers (unlikely perhaps for a ski instructor?)


Not a French one
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queenie pretty please wrote:
But they are thankfully not all breaking into remote huts to avoid paying the rent.


What if he couldn't pay the rent?
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@MorningGory, I get your point but it is a lot harder to live "off grid" in Austria. Assuming he had lost his job, he would be registered with the AMS and receive financial support. Perhaps he had chosen not to do that for whatever reason, I cannot guess. Homelessness is much rarer in Austria than in the UK, and does seem to disproportionately affect undocumented migrants. Of course he might have fallen into this category if he had lost his job, and chosen to become "deregistered".
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@queenie pretty please, 55% of average earnings for 30 weeks: http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/29725351.PDF Coronavirus restrictions have been around for somewhat longer than 30 weeks and ski instructors don't have a realistic prospect of much more work this winter. You complained (in that case, IMO, rightly) about being called a Boomer on another thread, but to continue suggesting that he is voluntarily homeless when you don't know his situation will have a lot more people rolling their eyes and thinking 'Ok Boomer' when they see your name
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@rambotion, you're right that I don't know his situation, but I do know how the job and unemployment market works in Austria. The article states that he had been living in Austria for several years so it might be safe to assume that he did too, and that he had summer work as well as winter ski instruction work. Your suggestion is that all people in Austria who usually work in tourism and have lost their jobs as a result of the current crisis are destitute and likely to lose their homes is simply wrong. A drop in income, for sure, but mass homelessness, not at all. Call me all the insults you want (and "Boomer" is factually incorrect anyway). This person chose to break into an empty building seemingly to squat illegally. The fact that he subsequently lost his life is nothing short of tragic.
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@queenie pretty please,

Quote:

Your suggestion is that all people in Austria who usually work in tourism and have lost their jobs as a result of the current crisis are destitute and likely to lose their homes is simply wrong.


Well it would be wrong if I had made that suggestion. I was simply pointing out that the Austrian welfare system is not necessarily going to prevent someone from being able to pay their rent and therefore claiming that them dying shows 'Darwnism' is pretty insulting and crass. If you had evidence that he could have afforded his rent then I would not have replied as such.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
As others have said, there is a backstory to all this somewhere but breaking into a closed mountain hut is a bit disrespectful. I guess he felt it was unused over winter so it wasn't doing too much harm but he clearly did a lot of damage breaking in.
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@rambotion, but equally you are suggesting that a person who suffers a drop in income is justified in resorting to crime. Whatever the back story, this is a tragic loss of life.
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It sounds like a serious mental health problem to me. Whatever his circumstances, had he been in a stable and rational state of mind, he'd hardly have hiked up a mountain in winter with a load of stuff and done a lot of damage breaking in to a mountain hut. Even had the chimney not been blocked it was hardly a sustainable solution. Equating a mental health problem to Darwinism is unkind, to put it no more strongly.
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@pam w, you're right, Darwinism is the wrong term entirely if the guy was suffering with mental health problems. I hadn't considered that angle when I made the comment. I was thinking more of someone squatting illegally to save a few bob.
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rambotion wrote:
@queenie pretty please, it's not that hard to imagine ...


Now steady, lad. Queenie has spoken so best to agree or she'll scream and scream and scream until she's sick.
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One point to make, the chimneys are routinely capped in all the main rooms huts in the region to avoid ingress of snow..the winter room is for emergencies so no one has any need to be in the main part of a closed hut during winter. Everything else (about his situation etc) is pure speculation. As we say here..“lass die Toten in Ruhe schlafen.“
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Quote:

Queenie has spoken so best to agree or she'll scream and scream and scream until she's sick

Another characteristically mindless contribution, @Gerry. rolling eyes
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@Bergsteiger278, "..lass die Toten in Ruhe schlafen.." -- Well said...
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Tragic and sad! No-one would be doing something like that if not compelled to by some unfortunate set of circumstances, be it bad weather, loss of income/previous accommodation, mental health issues, so only sympathy from me! RIP Sad
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pam w wrote:
Equating a mental health problem to Darwinism is unkind, to put it no more strongly.


but probably the very definition of Darwinism.

however inappropriate the terms is on an open ski forum.
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davidof wrote:
As others have said, there is a backstory to all this somewhere but breaking into a closed mountain hut is a bit disrespectful. I guess he felt it was unused over winter so it wasn't doing too much harm but he clearly did a lot of damage breaking in.


Looking at the map, that hut is approx. 5 km and 1000m elevation from the nearest village. I doubt he took a taxi up, suspect only an offroader would get up there. Lugging two cases up there is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Not all winter rooms are heated and even then the fuel can run out. Surprised he didn't know about the chimney being capped or planned to break in. Maybe when you are freezing to death in the winter room without power you take drastic measures.

Yes he probably should have received financial support but getting an apointment with the Austrian authorities is difficult in normal times let alone during Corona times. Can imagine it's also hard to claim for a loss of income when you expect to be working 'next week' but the goal posts keep moving.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Thu 21-01-21 19:17; edited 1 time in total
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Desperation and mental health perhaps
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