Remains of missing Japanese hiker found on Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is in the Alps, on the Swiss-Italian border (AFP Photo/FABRICE COFFRINI)

Geneva (AFP) - Bones discovered at the foot of the Matterhorn have been identified as the remains of a Japanese national who disappeared on the iconic mountain four years ago, Swiss police said Monday.

Police in the canton of Valais said that a 40-year-old climber, who had set out alone, disappeared on the Matterhorn on July 23, 2014.

"He never returned and was presumed missing," the police statement said.

Four years later, on September 11, a rescue worker in the area found human bones and climbing equipment at the foot of the mountain's eastern wall.

"DNA analysis has enabled us to determine that it is the Japanese climber," police said, noting that the remains were revealed by melting snow.

Receding snow and ice in the Alps has previously revealed the bones of people who had been missing for years, including two extraordinary incidents last year.

In August of 2017, the remains of a German hiker who vanished 30 years ago while climbing the Lagginhorn mountain in southern Switzerland were found embedded in a glacier.

That discovery came just two days after a Swiss couple who disappeared while walking in the Alps in 1942 were found in a receding glacier.