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Over 100 children and teachers rescued from mountain after school hike goes wrong

Children hiking
A risk assessment is essential for group outings (Image credit: Getty)

A huge group of children and teachers had to be rescued from a mountain in the Austrian Alps after a school hiking trip went badly wrong. The group, which included 99 children between the ages of 12 and 14, plus eight teachers, became stranded while hiking to the summit of the Walmendingerhorn (opens in new tab).

As Adventure Journal (opens in new tab) reports, one of the teachers from a school just over the border in Germany had found the route online and decided it looked suitable for a school outing, but underestimated how difficult it would actually be. Although described as a 'classic evening walk', parts of the route were very exposed and some required climbing experience and equipment.

The trail also required good hiking boots, but not all students came equipped with suitable footwear and two slipped, sustaining minor injuries.

Difficult and exposed

As the terrain became increasingly difficult and rain began to fall, the teachers decided to call the emergency services. It took two helicopters and 60 people to save the group, including two mountain rescue teams, police, an emergency doctor, and even the local mayor.

A crisis intervention team was brought in, and police reported that "several students were exhausted, chilled, wet and completely distraught".bAll children and staff were checked by medical staff and registered by police, and the children were given hot drinks and food at a nearby youth hostel.

"The path is no longer in official tour guides," State police spokesman Wolfgang Duer said after the rescue. "It was relatively difficult and exposed." 

A police investigation is now underway, which will be sent to the public prosecutor to decide if criminal charges need to be made.

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).