Brit plunges 300ft to his death from formidable ‘Stairway to Heaven’ climb

The family of a Brit tourist who plunged to his death climbing “the stairway to heaven” have spoken out about their loss.

Retail manager Malcolm McDonald, 42, fell 300 feet in the Dachstein Mountains of Austria after attempting to climb the famous ladder. From Northern Ireland, he set off to do the Via ferrata Donnerkogel hike close to Salzburg, which translates to "iron way".

On September 12, Malcolm attempted to climb the 132ft long ladder solo. Efforts were made to save his life with two helicopters and emergency crews rushing to the scene but despite their efforts were unable to help him. His body was recovered from a deep gully below the ladder.

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His family has now spoken out about the tragedy, describing him as "kind and caring" and explaining they were “heartbroken”. They toldBelfast Live: “We as a family are heartbroken by Malcolm’s death as the result of a tragic accident. But we are comforted by the fact that he was living his dream in the mountains and had completed the Spartan Trifecta two days earlier.

“Life won’t be the same without him. We wish to thank everyone who has sent their condolences and support at this heartbreaking time. He was loved by all who knew him and the world will be a darker place without him.”

Malcolm had been in Austria competing in the Spartan Trifecta the weekend before the incident. Local police have reiterated that it was an accident and have ruled out third-party negligence.

Tributes also poured in from his mountaineering group, who posted online: "It is with great sadness for all of us this morning to learn of the passing of our esteemed member, Malcolm McDonald.Malcolm was a very popular member and was always up for a challenge.

"There is little peace knowing that Malcolm achieved his Spartan goal in Austria and spent his last moments doing something he loved. He will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family circle and friends at this sad time."

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