Press Release 087/2014

Highly Relieved about the Successful Rescue of KIT Employee

In the late morning (11.44 hrs, June 19, 2014), the employee of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, who had been injured by an accident in the Riesending Cave in the Berchtesgaden Alps last Sunday, was brought out of the cave by rescue teams. With this, the very difficult rescue was completed successfully after twelve days. “We are highly relieved and happy about the successful rescue of our employee and colleague. In the name of all staff members of KIT, we hope that he will recover soon,” said Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT.


“Our thanks go to the Bergwacht Bayern (Bavarian Mountain Rescue Service) and the many local helpers, who successfully completed the difficult rescue with great care and high personal commitment. We followed the rescue work and always felt with the relatives,” said Dr. Elke Luise Barnstedt, Vice President of KIT for Human Resources and Law.


At KIT, Johann Westhauser is member of the technical staff of the Institute of Applied Physics. Speleology is the hobby of Westhauser, who has joined the Association for Speleology of Bad Cannstatt.


“We all at the institute are very relieved about the good news. We wish Johann Westhauser a complete recovery and hope that he will soon return to his working team,” said Professor Martin Wegener of the Institute of Applied Physics.


After his rescue at 11.44 hrs, Westhauser is now in emergency medical care.


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

le, 19.06.2014


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
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The press release is available as a PDF file.