NEWS

Body Of Missing Canadian Skier Found 35 Years Later In Alps

09/29/2015 10:54 EDT | Updated 09/29/2016 05:12 EDT
Jean-Pierre Pieuchot via Getty Images
Switzerland, Pennine Alps, Matterhorn
A Toronto woman finally has the answer about what happened to her brother, who went missing during a ski trip to Europe 35 years ago.

Sonja Barnes's 24-year-old brother, Gregory Barnes, disappeared in 1980 while skiing in the Italian and Swiss Alps.

"It's been a bit of a mystery," she told CBC's Michelle Cheung this week. "I hung onto hope for an awfully long time because there was no body, there was no trace."

The mystery was solved earlier this month when Barnes got a call from Italian police, telling her that her brother's body had been found after more than three decades.

Italian authorities told her that a hotter-than-normal summer caused glacial melt that uncovered her brother's remains. He was found in a crevice, along with his passport that confirmed his identity.

Barnes said her brother was an avid outdoorsman. He worked in Germany for AES Data, a Canadian word-processing company.

Gregory Barnes stayed with his sister in Ottawa for a week before moving to Europe.

"At no time did I know that that would be the last time I would ever see him," she said.

Gregory was heading to the top of a peak in the Bernina mountain range with a group of other skiers when he had trouble with his binding and returned to their hut to fix it. When he tried to catch up to his group, he made a wrong turn, fell into a deep crevice and died.

Local search teams scoured the area, but were unable to locate him. 

"He should have known better," said Sonja Barnes about her brother's decision to leave his group. "But he's gone and he's been gone for 35 years, and now I have total peace of knowing that ... there's no longer any room for doubt."

Gregory Barnes's remains will be returned to Canada so he can be laid to rest at home.