Miss­ing bil­lion­aire’s fam­ily gives up hope of res­cue

Austin American-Statesman - - NATION & WORLD - By Geir Moul­son

The fam­ily of a Ger­man bil­lion­aire has given up hope of find­ing him alive a week af­ter he went miss­ing in the Swiss Alps, his com­pany said Fri­day.

Karl-Eri­van Haub, the 58-year-old heir to the Ten­gel­mann re­tail em­pire, was train­ing for a ski moun­taineer­ing race when he dis­ap­peared un­der Switzer­land’s fa­mous Mat­ter­horn peak, lo­cated on the south­ern bor­der with Italy.

He was last seen on Satur­day morn­ing as he headed up a moun­tain lift with skis and a day­pack, and was re­ported miss­ing to po­lice the fol­low­ing morn­ing af­ter he failed to show up at his ho­tel in the Swiss re­sort of Zer­matt.

Ten­gel­mann said in a state­ment Fri­day on the fam­ily’s be­half that, af­ter days “in the ex­treme cli­mate con­di­tions of a glacier area, there is no longer any prob­a­bil­ity that Karl-Eri­van Haub sur­vived.”

It said the search for Haub’s body will con­tinue and the com­pany will pay all costs for that.

“This ac­ci­dent is a ter­ri­ble tragedy both for the Haub fam­ily and the whole fam­ily com­pany, and one that is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble for ev­ery­body,” Ten­gel­mann spokes­woman Sieglinde Schuchardt said.

The search for Haub on both sides of the Swiss-Ital­ian bor­der in­volved three he­li­copters, ground pa­trols and avalanche res­cue teams, with up to 60 peo­ple at its peak.

It was com­pli­cated by bad weather and the fact that it wasn’t clear ex­actly where Haub was go­ing. Res­cuers were comb­ing a huge area un­der the Mat­ter­horn and some sus­pected that he might have fallen into one of the re­gion’s many glacial crevasses.

Haub — who was born in Ta­coma, Wash­ing­ton — and his brother Chris­tian have led Ten­gel­mann since 2000. The fam­ily’s fortune is es­ti­mated at over $3.7 bil­lion. Fam­ily pa­tri­arch Eri­van Haub died in March at his home in Wy­oming.

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.

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