A 22-year-old woman was thrown from a footbridge overlooking the German castle that inspired Cinderella’s iconic home but miraculously survived and only sustained minor injuries.
Authorities say the American tourist is expected to be released from hospital today (Friday) following the shocking attack, which began when she tried to help her friend who was also targeted, reports The Daily Express US.
The woman is believed to have intervened to help a friend after she was attacked at Neuschwanstein Castle, in Schwangau, by another tourist, who choked her and threw her into a gorge. The 21-year-old, whose identity has yet to be confirmed, plunged to her death.
The alleged attacker was arrested immediately after the horrific incident
The tragic scenes happened on Wednesday afternoon near the Marienbruecke, a bridge over a gorge close to the castle that offers a famous view of Neuschwanstein.
The 30-year-old man met the two female tourists on a hiking path and lured them onto a trail that leads to a viewpoint, police said in a statement.
Police spokesman Holger Stabik said: “The younger of the two women was attacked by the suspect. The older one tried to rush to her aid, was then choked by the suspect and subsequently pushed down a slope. ”
The assailant then appears to have attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old before pushing her down the slope as well. She fell nearly 50 meters (165 feet), ending up close to her friend.
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A mountain rescue team reached both women. The 22-year-old was “responsive” and taken to a hospital, police said.
A helicopter carried the 21-year-old with serious injuries to a different hospital, and she died there overnight.
Eric Abneri, a recent business graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who witnessed the alleged attacker’s arrest, said the man appeared to have scratches across his face.
Speaking to AP, Abneri said: “He did not say a single word. He didn’t open his mouth, he didn’t mumble. He just walked with the police and that was it.”
“I’m honestly absolutely stunned someone is still alive from this. It is like falling from the top of an absolute cliff,” he said.
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.”
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Police said a judge in nearby Kempten on Thursday ordered the suspect held pending a potential indictment and he was taken to jail. He is under investigation on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and a sexual offense.
Neuschwanstein, located in southern Bavaria close to Austria’s border, is one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions.
It is the most famous of the castles built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. Construction started in 1869 but was never completed.
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