Avalanche kills at least three people: search at Swiss ski resort halted | Abroad

Avalanche kills at least three people: search at Swiss ski resort halted | Abroad
Avalanche kills at least three people: search at Swiss ski resort halted | Abroad
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UpdateThree people have been killed by an avalanche in southern Switzerland. One person was injured. The police in the canton of Valais reported this on Monday evening.


RL

April 1 2024


Latest update:
01-04-24, 21:58


Source:
Belga, VTM NEWS, ANP

The snow avalanche fell off the slopes on the Riffelberg, near the Zermatt ski resort, on Monday around 2 p.m. About 45 rescue workers responded to the search for the missing people. The search has now been stopped, it is not clear whether there are still people buried under the snow.

The operation was extremely difficult, despite the use of helicopters and sniffer dogs. Up to 120 centimeters of snow has fallen in some places since Friday. Because the victims were probably not experienced ski tourers, they were not known to have any equipment with them that could transmit a distress signal with coordinates in the event of danger, such as when struck by an avalanche. This made it even more difficult for rescue services to locate the skiers.

Warnings

Due to heavy snowfall and strong winds, warnings have already been issued about the risk of avalanches in some areas of the south of the Alps. “We can expect large to very large avalanches,” the SLF Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research indicated.

Until Monday, fourteen people had been killed by avalanches in Switzerland this ski season.

It is therefore difficult for the local authorities to understand that people have ventured off the slopes despite the warnings.

Gusts

The ski area where the avalanche occurred, which covers parts of Switzerland and Italy, was in the news last week after images of a rocking ski lift in Breuil-Cervinia, Italy, went viral. This is located at the foot of the famous Matterhorn, known in Italy as Monte Cervino. Sudden gusts of more than 100 kilometers per hour caused a ski lift to rock violently back and forth. One container didn’t even fall over.

Last month, five ski tourers were found dead on the Swiss mountain Tête Blanche. They tried to build a snow cave to shelter from the bad weather, but eventually panic set in. The search is still underway for the sixth person in the group, but it is suspected that that man also died.



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WATCH ALSO. How does the search for avalanche victims proceed?

An avalanche swept away several people near Zermatt, Switzerland, on Monday. © RV

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