Tourist Dies in 300-Foot Fall from Ladder Bridge

A British man, aged 42, tragically lost his life in Austria’s Dachstein Mountains after falling 300 feet from a ladder bridge. The man, whose identity remains undisclosed, was alone on the renowned 130-foot ladder when he encountered difficulties and fell into the valley beneath.

The ladder bridge, a popular attraction among tourists seeking Instagram-worthy photos, links the lower and higher sections of the Donnerkogel mountain, including its 6,740-foot peak. The incident was deemed an accident by investigators, who ruled out any third-party negligence.

The Dachstein region’s tourist website promotes the ladder as the “new TOP attraction on the Zwieselalm for climbing enthusiasts.” The climb, divided into four stages, culminates with the ladder, described as the “ultimate adrenaline kick.” The climb is classified as a via ferrata, or “iron path,” which involves the use of steel cables, rungs, pegs, and ladders. Climbers are secured to these elements with a harness for safety.

Two helicopters and several officers from two local police departments were involved in the recovery of the man’s body from the gorge. The ladder bridge, often referred to as “the stairway to heaven,” has been featured in thousands of Instagram posts by thrill-seekers who have braved the climb. The climb is rated as moderate to difficult and is not recommended for beginners.

Several Austrian towns have expressed frustration with the influx of tourists seeking social media content. In May, the small town of Hallstatt closed its famous lakefront view after tourists began to overrun the town. The lakefront is believed to have inspired several scenes in the Disney movie “Frozen,” attracting over 7,000 daily visitors to the town of 750 residents.

Earlier this month, a 55-year-old man from Virginia died while attempting the challenging 24-mile Rim-to-Rim hike of the Grand Canyon. The man, Ranjith Varma, fell unconscious near a campground on the North Kaibab Trail and despite the efforts of park rangers, could not be revived.