The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Avalanches bury several people in the Alps at the weekend

Updated at 03 Mar 2024 4:00 pm

Avalanches claimed at least two lives in the Swiss Alps at the weekend. A skier died in an avalanche in Saas-Grund in Valais on Saturday, while a ski tourer died above Davos in Graubünden. In addition, a skier who had been missing since Tuesday was found dead in an avalanche cone in Parpan, also in Graubünden, on Saturday.

According to the Valais cantonal police, the skier who died on Saturday in Saas-Grund was skiing on a slope in the Kreuzboden-Hohsaas ski area when he was caught in an avalanche. Rescue workers located him under about one meter of snow. Despite resuscitation attempts, he died at the scene of the accident.

According to the cantonal police of Graubünden, all help came too late for the 49-year-old ski tourer who was buried by an avalanche above Davos on Saturday.

Several trapped people rescued

Another ski tourer was rescued seriously injured on Saturday after an avalanche above Davos. According to the Graubünden cantonal police, the rescue team was able to locate and dig him out.

Another person was buried in the Hohtälli area near Zermatt in Valais on Saturday, as reported by Air-Zermatt. She was rescued from the masses of snow and remained uninjured. This person had been skiing outside the marked pistes.

The skier found dead in the Arosa-Lenzerheide ski area on Saturday was a 54-year-old man whose family had reported him missing on Tuesday after he had not returned from skiing, according to the Graubünden cantonal police on Sunday. He was found outside the marked and secured ski slopes.

Great avalanche danger

Ski lifts, pistes and winter hiking trails in Saas-Fee in Valais remained closed on Sunday due to the risk of avalanches and storms, according to the ski resort's website. Slopes and ski lifts were also closed in other ski resorts.

The avalanche warning service of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos had classified the avalanche danger for the weekend on Saturday as high. This was the second-highest danger level, which is only predicted on a few days in winter. The Simplon region and the southern Goms in Valais as well as the Bedretto Valley and the upper Maggia valleys in Ticino were at high risk of avalanches.

According to the avalanche warning service, spontaneous and often very large avalanches are likely at this danger level. Avalanches can easily be triggered on many steep slopes. Inexperienced tourers were advised to stay on the open slopes and routes. There was also considerable avalanche danger in many areas.

©Keystone/SDA

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