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German to face charges for not helping

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German to face charges for not helping

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:24 am

Last week in Tirol, Austria an ski-mountaineer was caught in an avallanche. A passing ski-mountaineer was asked to help search for the victim - he refused and carried on his tour.
The victim was eventually found and dug out but died the next day in hospital.
The Austrian police are now considering presecuting the German for refusing help in an emergency.
Interesting point of law this. I think that mountaineers have a code of offering help - but it´s not written down as law, plus maybe he was conserned for his own safety, which would make a difference. But maybe he was just an asshole. Non the less should he be prosecuted for refusing to search?
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Charles » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:45 am

exactly.
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern/stuba ... -1.1565870

there is nothing here about danger to him etc. It sounds like there was only one person with the victim.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby ibelieveindevil » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:29 pm

hmmm this is really something... for a law to be enforce in such a situation, it is probably one word against the other, as all other so called facts are just too hypothetical.

few years ago, when i was in an expedition in Malaysia, there was a lost incident that occured. midway decending from the mountain, my team met up with a group of rescue team. someone was missing in the top part of the mountain, probably injured and off path. Well, rescue search around the thick tropical rain forest is quite tedious, especially when someone is off the path. Those think jungles just make people go round and round.

Here is the thing, The rescue team asked us if we could provide asistance. Our team consist of a leader, 3 senior trekkers and 6 recreational trekkers. In the end we only managed to send 2 members to help out, as my leader decision was, we have 6 climbers who were probably too tired, too inexperience and too dangerous for them to wonder off. we needed a person to lead, and a sweeper behind to guide them down, so only 2 senior members joined the rescue team.

and till today i still wonder if there was something more we could do. just 2 member out of a 10 members team, isnt that a bit pathetic? from the rescue team point of view, they probably had gather a team that is not enough in members due to the short period of time, trekked half way up the mountain, carrying with them rescue equipments, and they still have to think about how they going to transport down the injured person. And for them to happen to meet a group of 10 members, well certainly it would really help a lot if all of us manage to join in the search.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby rgg » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:42 pm

sjarelkwint wrote:In belgium we are obliged by law to help a person in need, same for the rest of europe i think ...


According to Dutch law, you are obliged by law to help anyone who is in a life threatening situation (as opposed to "a person in need", but I suppose that Sjarel did not mean it quite like that), unless helping would be dangerous to yourself or others.

Personally, I find it a bit sad that there actually needs to be a law for this. I would like to think that people generally help on their own accord, not because a law says they have to. But I'm also a realist, and know that there are all kinds of people on this planet.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby mvs » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:04 pm

Maybe ultimately the guy can't be persecuted. But by all means he highly deserves a public shaming (I'm not being sarcastic either). I know this mountain where it happened and have done 3 ski tours there. I cannot imagine anyone refusing aid up there!!
Last edited by mvs on Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Fletch » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:12 pm

sjarelkwint wrote:In belgium we are obliged by law to help a person in need, same for the rest of europe i think ...

Then how bout helping out with Greece, would ya? Then maybe throw a bone to Spain, Italy, Ireland, and France?

Angela Merkel is German... hmmm...




(i'm just kidding, but I couldn't resist) :D
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Sarah Simon » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:19 pm

Since when can we legislate Samaritanism? It's not nice to be a calous asshole, but it shouldn't be illegal.
Go climb a mountain
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Josh Lewis » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:39 pm

As someone who tries to help people when given the opportunity, I still don't think there should be a law forcing people to do the right thing. Not because I would have to worry about it. Not because I'm concerned about folks getting angry over such law existing. But because we need to make that choice for ourselves.

However, shame on people who refuse to help out during a life threatening situation. I'd be there to help in a heart beat. I suppose if it was truly too dangerous I'd have to think twice. :wink: (kinda dangerous doesn't cut the mustard with me) :wink:
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:47 pm

We had to pass a "good Samaritan" law in New Mexico, because people were afraid to help, lest they be sued (this was a very common American occurrence-- help the victim survive, but there are some after-effects that could be blamed on the helper).

I've been involved in searches, where it seemed patently obvious that the lost person was likely dead. Often the friends and family remain frantically attached to the search, and want all efforts to be spent, no matter the danger to the searchers.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby aglane » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:54 am

rgg wrote:
sjarelkwint wrote:In belgium we are obliged by law to help a person in need, same for the rest of europe i think ...


According to Dutch law, you are obliged by law to help anyone who is in a life threatening situation (as opposed to "a person in need", but I suppose that Sjarel did not mean it quite like that), unless helping would be dangerous to yourself or others.

Personally, I find it a bit sad that there actually needs to be a law for this. I would like to think that people generally help on their own accord, not because a law says they have to. But I'm also a realist, and know that there are all kinds of people on this planet.


Interesting that so many of us (Americans) take either a libertarian stance (he should/shouldn't by his preferences) or a moral one (I subscribe to/we all should [?] subscribe to a code of [good] action that covers this case. But the issue is one that precisely draws distinctions among different national systems of law, as the remarks about where there is a 'good samaritan' qualifier in the U.S. protecting those who voluntarily [attempt to] rescue against lawsuits. We have no general legal obligation to rescue. I'm not sure where one would best want to stand to argue against nations/cultures that have one (Austria, I presume).

It might be a good idea to know what the law is in countries where we climb or otherwise subject ourselves to a reasonable risk of coming across a case where rescue is a serious decision to be made. I lean to joining RGG in finding the need for such a law 'sad' and, finding no consensus in U.S. culture about such matters, think it might be a good idea. Hound's chance in hell..., in this libertarian/moralistic concatentation of ours.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Josh Lewis » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:17 am

Here's another aspect to the situation. If the person who is required by law to rescue the person in trouble does not have any moral feelings to help that person, what makes you think they are going to help them out because of some law? At least on my side of the world it would be very difficult to enforce such a law (the mountains that I go up).

Personally if such law was enforced where I live, I wouldn't protest it considering that maybe someone might be saved because of it. But I'm still only placing that as a maybe. (BTW this is not a contradiction to my last post) There are some laws I don't agree with but have respect for them. :wink:
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Jukka Ahonen » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:43 am

The news article is very brief. There is not enough information to make any call regarding this case, in my opinion. Since there is a law in place, it is good that the police/prosecutor take a look at the case and investigate. Pending their decisions, however, judgement here on SP, let alone name & shame would be premature.

There is a law here in Finland requiring you to assist, although I must admit I do not know the exact requirements of the law. I would assume any such law to still leave you some consideration regarding your personal safety. And personal safety is something that may differ quite a bit from one person to another.

Also, I would take into consideration the possibility of the person (or shall we say accused) being in shock. If we was close to the avalanche when it took place, he may have been in panic, for all we know.

Lots of possible variables, very little information.
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:56 am

charles wrote:...A passing ski-mountaineer was asked to help search for the victim - he refused and carried on his tour...


Sounds so.... so.....

So European?
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Re: German to face charges for not helping

Postby coldfoot » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:37 am

Maybe he was training for Everest.

Yesterday I landed on the Austrian avalanche service blog page which described this incident (don't recall how I got there) : http://lawinenwarndienst.blogspot.com/2012/12/unfassbar.html There are not too many more details yet, if there is a criminal case the details may take a while to come out.
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