Brutal weather has reportedly complicated the search for a German billionaire CEO who has been missing in the Swiss Alps since this weekend.
Karl-Erivan Haub, heir to the Germany-based Tengelmann supermarket empire, failed to return from a ski trip Saturday near Switzerland's famous Matterhorn Peak, which shares a border with Italy.
Haub, 58, was traveling alone and was last seen on a cable car heading up to the Klein Matterhorn, Europe’s highest mountain station, according to German news agency DPA.
There has been no news on his whereabouts, a Tengelmann spokeswoman said today.
Haub was an experienced skier and mountaineer, according to The Associated Press.
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Haub and brother Christian have headed the company since 2000. The family’s fortune is estimated at over $3.7 billion.
Tengelmann's main businesses are the hardware store Obi and clothing retailer KiK. It also has large stakes in the Netto supermarket chain and online retailer Zalando. It once owned a major stake in the now-defunct U.S. supermarket chain A&P.
'A miracle can happen...'
The search for Haub has been “very difficult” because of the challenging weather conditions, Italian mountain rescue spokesman Walter Milan told DPA today.
There are also many crevices in the area where Haub could have been skiing.
The rescue team has been unable to use a helicopter because of the weather, Milan added, but the search will not be called off.
“A miracle can happen, although the weather doesn’t help,” he told DPA.
About 13,000 tourists were temporarily stranded at the Zermatt Matterhorn ski resort earlier this year because of the high avalanche risk. Snow and wind conditions can easily create ideal conditions for avalanches near the famous peak.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.