Simon Gautier: French hiker’s body found in Italian ravine

Frenchman Simon Gautier, 27, who went missing in the south of Italy on 9 August 2019Image copyright AFP
Image caption Simon Gautier was on a coastal walk heading to Naples when he disappeared

The body of a French hiker who disappeared in Italy after making an emergency call 10 days ago has been found in a ravine near Naples.

Simon Gautier, 27, made a plea for help on 9 August, saying he had fallen down a cliff and broken both legs while walking in Salerno in south-west Italy.

“Help me, I see the sea but I don’t know where I am,” he told authorities.

Mr Gautier was found on Sunday after rescuers used binoculars to scour the area and located his backpack.

His family have criticised local authorities, saying they took too long to organise search and rescue efforts.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alpine rescuers establish a plan to recover Mr Gautier’s body from a ravine in Italy

It is not clear why Mr Gautier’s mobile phone could not be located using a GPS tracking system.

Traces of blood near footpath

Mr Gautier was walking alone near the coast in Belvedere di Ciolandrea, in the municipality of San Giovanni a Piro, heading towards the southern Italian city of Naples when he disappeared.

In a call to emergency services on the morning of Friday 9 August, Mr Gautier said he had broken his legs after falling into a ravine “in the middle of nowhere”, adding that he was “dying of pain”.

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Image caption The slope and cliff where Mr Gautier fell and later died

His family and friends then tried desperately to contact him, but were unsuccessful, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported (in Italian).

Efforts to locate Mr Gautier were made difficult due to the area’s dangerous terrain – firefighters, sniffer dogs, drones and helicopters were used to search the cliff area alongside the sea.

Days later, a member of an Alpine rescue team helping with the search spotted Mr Gautier’s backpack near a ravine.

A team dispatched to the location then found small traces of blood on rocks near a footpath. His body, which was later discovered at the bottom of the ravine, was being recovered by teams on Monday.

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Image caption A mass is held outside the Church of the Immaculate in Scario

On Sunday, a vigil for Mr Gautier was held outside a church in the nearby village of Scario.

Mr Gautier moved to the Italian capital Rome two years ago and had been writing a thesis on art history.

His family have called for an investigation to determine the cause of his death and whether it could have been prevented.

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