Tuesday 14 August 2018

Family of missing billionaire gives up hope of rescue

Karl-Erivan, Georg and Christian Haub of the retailer group Tengelmann pose for photographers in the western town of Muelheim, Germany, August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo
Karl-Erivan, Georg and Christian Haub of the retailer group Tengelmann pose for photographers in the western town of Muelheim, Germany, August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo

The family of a German billionaire has given up hope of finding him alive a week after he disappeared in the Alps.

The Tengelmann retail group said on behalf of Karl-Erivan Haub's family in a statement that there was no longer any hope for him after a week "in the extreme climate conditions of a glacier area".

Rescuers in Switzerland and Italy have spent days searching for Mr Haub, the 58-year-old heir to the Tengelmann empire, in a large area under the Matterhorn peak on the two countries' border.

He was last seen last Saturday morning as he headed up a mountain lift with skis and a small backpack.

The 58-year-old was training for a ski mountaineering race when he disappeared under Switzerland's famous Matterhorn peak.

He was reported missing to police the following morning after he failed to show up at his hotel in the Swiss resort of Zermatt.

Tengelmann said the search for Mr Haub's body will continue and the company will pay all costs.

"This accident is a terrible tragedy both for the Haub family and the whole family company, and one that is incomprehensible for everybody," spokeswoman Sieglinde Schuchardt said.

The search for Mr Haub on both sides of the border involved three helicopters, ground patrols and avalanche rescue teams, with up to 60 people at its peak.

It was complicated by bad weather and the fact that it was not clear exactly where Mr Haub was going.

Rescuers were combing a huge area under the Matterhorn and some suspected he might have fallen into one of the region's many glacial crevasses.

Mr Haub - who was born in Washington state - and his brother Christian have led Tengelmann since 2000.

The family's fortune is estimated at over 3 billion euros. Family patriarch Erivan Haub died in March at his home in Wyoming.

Tengelmann's main businesses are the hardware store Obi and clothing retailer KiK. It also has large stakes in the Netto supermarket chain and online retailer Zalando.

Press Association

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