The family of Karl-Erivan Haub, the missing German retail magnate, now believes there is no chance he is still alive. His firm, Tengelmann, said the search was now focused on recovering his body.
The Tengelmann group said Friday the 58-year-old Alpine athlete was presumed dead, and his family and firm were facing up to an "unbelievable tragedy."
Last weekend, Haub, one of Germany's richest men, was last seen at the Little Matterhorn peak's cable car station, near Zermatt, Switzerland, on a skiing trip across the glacier-covered mountain.
"On behalf of the Haub family, we regret to announce that after over seven days in extremely challenging conditions in a glacier area, there is no longer a chance of survival for Karl-Erivan Haub," Tengelmann said.
Search for body
The statement from the firm based in Germany's Ruhr region continued that rescuers would continue their search in "extreme climate conditions" so that his body could be recovered in an area riddled with deep crevices across glacial ice.
Efforts in the search area extending into Italy were hampered in recent days by storms, low visibility and a high avalanche risk.
"The family now has to discuss with local emergency services how to design this search," said Mathias Volken, spokesman for Switzerland's Valais region police.
Training for Alpine race
Haub's trip was included in his training for Patrouille des Glaciers, a grueling race across the Alps organized every two years by the Swiss army and due to take place next Tuesday.
He was only lightly clad. Rescuers have speculated that he had an accident during his solo practice run. His phone stopped sending signals last Saturday.
ipj/ng (Reuters, dpa, AFP)