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Grove, C.; Kunz, S. N. and Lochner, S. J. (2016): Tödliche Bergunfälle. Forensische Begutachtung am Institut für Rechtsmedizin München 2004–2014. In: Rechtsmedizin, Vol. 26, No. 3: pp. 177-183

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The popularity and recreational use of mountain areas have increased significantly in recent years. While the number of injured mountaineers is increasing, the number of fatalities is decreasing, according to the German Alpine Club (DAV). At the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Munich all fatal mountain accidents (excluding winter sports) were evaluated retrospectively. In the period 2004-2014 70 fatal mountain accidents occurred. The 54 male and 16 female victims were aged between 2 and 86. 55 of these cases happened in Bavaria, 3 abroad. In 80 % a non-natural cause of death was declared, of which 80 % were accidents and 20 % suicides. The leading cause of death was multiple trauma, but there were also isolated cases of hypothermia and altitude sickness. In 6 cases a natural manner of death (cardiac failure) was be found. The present study shows that in Bavaria only a small percentage of fatal mountain accidents is evaluated from a forensic and biomechanical point of view. Furthermore, there is no existing central national and/or international database for deaths that occur in the mountains. In order to clarify the exact circumstances of mountain accidents and to evaluate the injury mechanisms, a forensic autopsy is essential.

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