Two mountaineers face prosecution after calling a rescue helicopter to save them from having to walk back down the peak they had just climbed.

The Dutch climbers allegedly feigned exhaustion to persuade a helicopter crew to give them a lift down the 1,750-metre Hoher Göll peak near Salzburg in Austria.

The friends, aged 27 and 30, had apparently written “we are going back by helicopter” in the climbers’ book at the top of the mountain.

They then summoned a rescue helicopter on the way back down and told the crew that they were too exhausted to continue. The pair could face up to six months in jail or a £2,000 fine if they are convicted of abusing emergency signals.