80-Year-Old Survives Glider Collision Over Swiss Alps

ZERNEZ, Switzerland --

An 80-year-old man survived a mid-air collision between two gliders by jumping from his stricken plane with a parachute and spending the night on a snow-covered mountain, authorities said Monday.

Police in the Swiss canton (state) of Graubuenden said the man was found by rescue services Sunday at a height of 2,700 meters (8,850 feet) on the Piz Nuna mountain, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Zurich.

The man was the co-pilot of a two-seater glider from Germany. The plane's pilot, a 64-year-old German, died in the crash Saturday, along with a 70-year-old Swiss national flying the other aircraft.

Police spokeswoman Anna Maria Elmer said the survivor, who she did not identify by name, survived the night on the icy peak by returning to the downed plane and seeking refuge in the cockpit.

The German plane departed from Eschenlohe, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Munich, and was headed to the Swiss town of Samedan, close to the Italian border, when the accident happened.

The cause of the crash was being investigated, Elmer said.


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