Family says no hope for German billionaire lost in Swiss Alps

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BERLIN: Family members of German retail billionaire Karl-Erivan Haub have lost hope of finding him alive, a week after he went missing while skiing in the Swiss Alps, his company Tengelmann group said Friday.

“After more than seven days in the extreme weather conditions of a glacier region, there is no longer any hope of survival for Karl-Erivan Haub,” said the group in a statement issued on behalf of the magnate’s family. It added that a multinational search for the 58-year-old had been called off.

Haub is the boss of Germany’s sprawling Tengelmann retail group, which owns a number of chains and other businesses, including the Kik low-cost clothing stores and OBI home improvement outlets.

Its success has lifted the family into 265th place on Forbes magazine’s global rich list, and 20th place in Germany.

Haub, a seasoned alpinist, had gone skiing solo but the alarm was raised when he did not show up for an appointment at his hotel in Zermatt. Swiss and Italian emergency teams have been combing the region around Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn peak, with helicopters flying over the area while experienced rescuers have carried out foot searches.

But the search area covered thousands of hectares and operations on the Italian side were also hampered when a wave of harsh weather struck.