Swiss hikers die in Norway avalanche
Published: 19 Mar 2012 17:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2012 09:20 GMT+01:00
One member of the group made up of five Swiss nationals and one French guide was dug out of the snow alive and hospitalised in an unclear condition, according to authorities.
According to police, the avalanche occurred early on Monday afternoon at an altitude of about 1,000 metres on the Sorbmegaisa mountain in the Kåfjord municipality, and swept away half of a 12-member expedition in the area who were probably travelling on skis.
The expedition had split into two six-person groups each made up of five Swiss nationals and one French guide.
Police said all of the 12 had been wearing radio transmitters, which helped the search.
"The guide in the group that was not hit by the avalanche made sure the others in his group were in safety and then went back to the site of the avalanche to take part in the search," Antoine Gosset, the first secretary at the French embassy in Oslo, told AFP.
Rescuers found the body of the fifth victim under several metres of snow several hours after the avalanche swept down the mountain.
"I can now confirm that five people have been found dead," Astrid Nilsen of the police in the northern town of Tromsø told AFP on Monday evening.
"The search is over and we are now going to work on identifying the victims," she added.
The Swiss embassy in Oslo was not able to provide any information on the matter.
Avalanches are common in Norway at this time of year as blocks of snow and ice begin crumbling under the first rays of spring sun.