Man fired after being stranded on mountain top

A German man who survived five days in the Alps in freezing temperatures by eating snow has been fired because he missed work.

Aeronautical engineer Thomas Milnik received written notification of his dismissal from Schroeder & Uehlken while doctors at the hospital were deciding whether to amputate six of his frost-bitten toes.

Mr Milnik, from Berlin, who designed helicopters for the Munich-based company, was air-lifted to safety in a helicopter he personally equipped.

The 41-year-old hiker found himself stuck on the 2,962-metre-high Zugspitze, one of the Alps' highest peaks, when a sudden snow storm swept in.

He was eventually rescued five days later when workers at a nearby research station heard his cries for help and alarmed mountain rescue services.

Speaking from his hospital bed in Reutte, Tyrol, Milnik said: "I'm a bit of an adventurer and definitely an outdoors man. I hate being indoors. On weekends I usually try to get out and about.

"On that particular weekend I decided to tackle the Zugspitze. I didn't know the weather was due to turn bad and I thought I'd be back in Munich the next day."

Employer Schroeder & Uehlken, who dispatched the dismissal letter to the hospital as soon as they found out what happened, rejected criticism they were being unfair.

Company head Florian Schroeder said: "We only hired Mr Milkin at the beginning of October and he is still in his trial period. This is the second time something like this has happened within that time.

"We hired him as a consultant for a special one-year project and he is already behind deadline. And all because of his foolhardy exploits. We just can't take the risk of having him on this project anymore."

Story filed: 14:52 Tuesday 4th November 2003

Submitted by: anon
Category: Real News
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