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Austrian cave researchers find skeleton of skier

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[November 13, 2014]  VIENNA (Reuters) - Cave researchers in Austria have stumbled across the skeleton of a skier who apparently fell to his death many decades ago.

Geologist Georg Zagler made the grisly discovery last month while exploring the Alpine site on Untersberg peak near Salzburg. A recovery team brought out the remains on Wednesday, the Austria Press Agency reported.

At first mistaking them for animal bones, Zagler realized his error when he found two boots and parts of a ski and pole. "It was a leather shoe cobbled with nails and with thick iron spikes," probably 70 to 80 years old, APA quoted him as saying.

He suspected the skier fell around 50 meters (150 feet) to his death. Police think snowmelt and runoff then washed his bones to a depth as low as 300 meters from the cave opening.

Prosecutors ordered an autopsy but it was unclear whether the victim would ever be identified, police said.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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