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Lost Croatian tourist found in western mountains

By Mikheil Svanidze
Wednesday, June 11
Georgian border guards found a lost Croatian tourist yesterday in a forlorn hut in the remote reaches of a western Georgia mountain range.

Officials got word the day before that the tourist, Edin Alikalfic, had disappeared

He had gotten lost on the way from Girevi village to Shatili in the Atsunti canyon, near the Russian border, Georgian news media reported.

A rescue team began its search the same evening, but bad weather conditions slowed them down.

It was only yesterday afternoon that Alikalfic was found in a dilapidated shepherd’s hut, reportedly in poor condition. It was unclear whether the tourist was injured, sick or both.

Alikalfic received first aid and was taken to Girevi village.

He is not the first tourist to get lost in the tall and proud Caucasus mountain range, but his story ended happier than some.

Prominent Georgian alpinist Zurab Kuchava recounts many deadly accidents in mountain climbing and high-altitude trekking in Georgia.

“We have more information about Georgians [who were lost or killed]. Three Georgian mountaineers died in Svaneti [a western mountainous region] in 2004. One Canadian climber died there as well, and two Catholic monks died near Mkinvartsveri Mountain in Kazbegi province,” Kuchava said.

There is no centralized mountain rescue service in Georgia, according to Kuchava.

“There are scattered groups, but actually there is no rescue service—we do it on a case-by-case basis, with individual forces. A centralized rescue team needs lots of money, and this is probably not in the interest of the people who are in charge [of the country],” Kuchava said.