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Two die in Swiss Alpine ski resort accidents

Published: 27 Jan 2013 21:04 GMT+01:00

A 34-year-old woman died on Sunday after falling out of a chairlift in a freak incident at a ski resort in the canton of Schwyz.

The accident happened on Saturday at the Hoch-Ybrig ski area around 3pm, Schwyz cantonal police said.

The woman, a snowboarder of undisclosed nationality, was on the six-seater Hesisbol chairlift with her husband, police said.

As she tried to leave at the terminus of the lift, her backpack became stuck and she missed the exit.

The lift continued round until a circuit breaker was tripped, halting the chairlift.

At that moment, for reasons not explained, the woman fell out of the chair, plunging seven metres to the ground , police said.

She suffered severe head injuries and was transported in critical condition by air rescue authorities to a local hospital, where she died on Sunday, police said.

Cantonal police and the local prosecutor have launched an investigation into the mishap, in cooperation with the Swiss Accident Investigation Branch (SUST).

The Hesisbol lift serves the NBC Snowpark, an area designed for snowboarders in the ski resort located in the Alpine foothills close to Schwyz, the capital of the canton.
 
Ski resorts typically warn skiers and snowboarders to take off backpacks and to check for loose straps and clothing before boarding chairlifts to avoid potential problems.

It is not clear also whether the victim at Hoch-Ybrig was wearing a helmet.

Elsewhere, a 51-year-old Italian man died while tobogganing on Saturday night at the Arflina-Fiderer Heuberge mountain resort in the canton of Graubünden.

Cantonal police said the man, a resident of Switzerland, was following a snow grooming machine down a trail.

At around 10.15pm he collided with the “rear tiller” of the machine when he tried to overtake it, suffering fatal injuries in the process.

Police released no other details about the incident.

The Graubünden resort is noted for an 11-kilometre long toboggan run, which starts from the Berghaus Arfina at 2,000 metres and descends to the village of Fideris.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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