World Cup skier and girlfriend found dead after falling 2,300ft from Italian mountain peak

5 June 2024, 15:56

Jean Daniel Pession, 28, and Elisa Arlian, 26, fell in a "tragic mountain accident" in Italy, local media reported
Jean Daniel Pession, 28, and Elisa Arlian, 26, fell in a "tragic mountain accident" in Italy, local media reported. Picture: Instagram

By Christian Oliver

A champion skier and his girlfriend have fallen more than 2,300ft to their deaths.

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Jean Daniel Pession, 28, and Elisa Arlian, 26, fell in a "tragic mountain accident" in Italy, local media reported.

Mr Pession is a member of the Italian national speed skiing team while Ms Arlian was an instructor and school teacher.

The two had reached the peak of Mount Zerbion after hiking from the resort village of Champoluc in the Aosta Valley region.

The couple knew the peak well but the alarm was sounded after they failed to return later in the day, Italy's Rai reported.

Alpine rescuers in helicopters, police, and firefighters all set out to find the two but found no signs of where they had fallen.

After hours of searching, rescuers managed to pinpoint their whereabouts using a mobile phone signal.

Zerbion, Aosta Valley, Italy
Zerbion, Aosta Valley, Italy. Picture: Getty

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The couple were discovered dead and with their bodies still tied together - a common practice for mountain scalers.

Regional council president for Aosta Valley, Alberto Bertin, said the deaths were a "moment of profound sadness".

"Two young lives destroyed by an accident on a mountain, that mountain which was their passion."

Mr Pession competed in the 2021 Ski World Cup where he placed 15. He also finished 22nd in the speed skiing competition at the 2022 World Championships.

The Italian Winter Sports Federation confirmed the deaths over the weekend in a statement.

"A terrible tragedy strikes the world of winter sports and speed skiing in particular.

"Jean Daniel Pession, a 28-year-old member of the World Cup team, lost his life in a tragic mountain accident that occurred above Champoluc. His girlfriend also died together with Pession.

"Over the course of his career, the Aosta Valley native had achieved the best results in 2021, placing fifteenth in the final World Cup ranking, while at the World Championships he came 22nd in Vars in 2022."

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