British woman falls to her death on Italian mountain trail

By Calvin Palmer

A British woman fell 650 feet to her death in front of her husband yesterday while hiking in the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy.

Patricia Fletcher, 64, from Nantwich, Cheshire, died on the final day of a 10-day trip when she fell after reportedly slipping on snow.

The tragedy occurred in the municipality of Livinallongo del Col di Lana, in Belluno province in northern Italy.

Fletcher was in a group of five walkers, including her husband George, when the accident happened on a walking trail known as the the Ferrata delle Trincee, or “Way of the Trenches”.

The couple traveled to Italy with Collett’s Mountain Holidays, based near Royston in Hertfordshire.

Tom Collett, the firm’s managing director, said: “It is a very tragic event, and everybody here is devastated.”

After she fell, her husband and another member of the group scrambled down the mountain to reach her, Collett said.

But there was nothing they could do for her. Her body had to be recovered by helicopter.

The Fletchers were said to be fit and capable walkers who were keen on tackling high alpine trails during their holiday.

The Ferrata delle Trincee route is described as being of “medium” difficulty on an official Web site for the Dolomites, which states: “The most difficult section is to be found right at the start: a steep smooth slab. Good hiking boots make a world of difference on this volcanic rock.”

[Based on reports by The Daily Telegraph and Press Association.]

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