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Missing Colorado speed flyer Harrison Fast's body found in Switzerland

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Posted at 6:38 AM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 10:51:22-04

GENEVA -- Authorities in Switzerland say they have found the remains of a Colorado extreme sports enthusiast who went missing in the Alps five months ago.

Police said Wednesday that the 28-year-old's body was spotted by a helicopter crew Aug. 25.

Harrison Fast, from Boulder, was speed flying on the Jungfrau mountain in late March when the group he was with lost sight of him in bad weather. Speed flyers run or ski down slopes and then use special parachutes designed to let them fly fast and close to the ground.

"Speed flying is a natural progression from mountaineering," Fast said in a video where he described the spot that had become his passion. "The sport of speed flying involves small, high-performance paraglider."

Friends described Fast as an expert skier, a ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin, and a brilliant mechanical engineer who graduated from CU Boulder.

Fast's family organized a large-scale search for him, using drones to fly over dangerous terrain, but his body was not found until last week.

In a statement on Facebook, the family said it was relieved but deeply saddened to confirm that Fast's remains had been identified:

The family of Harrison Fast is relieved, yet deeply saddened, to announce the discovery of his remains on the top of Jungfraujoch on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Authorities discovered what were confirmed to be Harrison’s remains with a DNA test while conducting another search and rescue on the nearby Eiger.

His father John Fast will travel to Lauterbrunnen next week to collect Harrison’s remains and belongings, and to personally thank the SAR team for their diligent efforts. The family plans to return next summer for a tribute to Harrison.

The family would like to thank the local search and rescue team for their efforts ever since Harrison went missing on March 26, 2016. We thank them for their unending support of the family’s efforts to find him in those early days, as well as their efforts to recover his remains now.

The family would also like to thank the US embassy for its support through this horrific ordeal.

The family gives heartfelt thanks to all those who volunteered their time, expertise, and finances to assist the family in its own search. While there are far too many kind people to thank by name, we must publicly thank Josh Anderson, Devon Haire, Becky Haire, Matthew Cianfrani, Woody Woodcock, and everyone else who was able to help in Lauterbrunnen.
Finally, to the hundreds of people who offered emotional support to the family — Harrison’s countless friends who love him dearly, his colleagues at RealD, his family members near and far, this marks a chapter we hoped never to face. Losing a child or sibling too early in life is something no person should ever have to experience, and we could not have gotten to this point without all of you.

Remember, as Harrison reminds us, the summit is just the beginning.