A 22-year-old American woman has left hospital after being thrown down a 165ft cliff at Germany’s famous Neuschwanstein castle.
Kelsey Chang, a college graduate who was visiting the tourist spot known as Germany’s “Cinderella Castle”, miraculously survived the incident in which her friend Eva Liu, 21, died.
The incident took place on Wednesday near the idyllic tourist spot where the two women were allegedly attacked by another US tourist. A 30-year-old suspect, whose identity has not been released by the German authorities, is in custody.
Police say the two women were assaulted by a man they met on a hiking trail before he forced them over a ledge at the Marienbrücke, a pedestrian bridge with sweeping views of the castle, which sits above a high river gorge.
“The two tourists met the man on a hiking tour east of the Marienbrücke,” the chief public prosecutor in the case, Thomas Hörmann, told German tabloid Bild.
“The man then steered the two under a pretext to a trail that was difficult to see, which leads to a viewpoint,” Bavarian police said in a statement.
Once out of sight, the 30-year-old assailant reportedly tried to attack the women, going after the younger woman first, prompting the 22-year-old to try and defend her, police said.
“The younger of the two women was attacked by the suspect,” police spokesman Holger Stabik told the AP. “The older one tried to rush to her aid, was then choked by the suspect and subsequently pushed down a slope. ”
After that, the man made an “attempted sexual offence” on the 21-year-old and pushed her over the ledge as well, DW reports.
The 30-year-old suspect who has been arrested by German police faces charges of murder, attempted murder and attempted sexual assault.
Bystander video posted online showed police leading away a handcuffed, bearded man in a T-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap.
Due to the harsh terrain around the gorge, specially trained members of the Alpine Task Force were involved in the attempted rescue of both women.
Both women suffered severe injuries from the 165ft fall and were rescued by the security present at the castle.
Liu later died of her injuries but Ms Chang, originally from Bloomington, Illinois, survived the fall and was treated for several days in a hospital. She is now expected to fly back to the United States.
Eric Abneri, a recent business graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who witnessed the incident, said he and friends arrived at the scenic overlook as a helicopter arrived and they saw rescuers lower themselves down to the victims.
“I’m honestly absolutely stunned someone is still alive from this. It is like falling from the top of an absolute cliff,” he said.
Mr Abneri described it as “a very, very difficult rescue because of those cliffs and because the helicopter came mere feet above the tree line at the top of the hill.”
“They did an unbelievable job,” he said.
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