Just before five o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, an avalanche broke on Mount Pilatus, in the canton of Nidwalden.
Two men on a ski tour were making their way down towards Klimsenhorn when a slab of compressed snow was released, sweeping one of the skiers 600 metres down the mountain, and burying him in snow.
Unharmed by the avalanche, the second man was able to contact REGA, the Swiss air-rescue service that provides emergency medical assistance across Switzerland.
Despite the diminishing light and foggy conditions, the REGA team managed to locate the man using avalanche rescue dogs, and pulled the young father from under the snow. The team transported the man by helicopter to Luzern Cantonal Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
Police reported on Thursday that the accident occurred 1,900 metres above sea level, and that the avalanche was likely to have been triggered by the men’s movements.
According to the Swiss Avalanche Research Institute in Davos, danger of avalanches on Wednesday was judged to be moderate. Several helicopters had to be employed for the rescue mission because of the bad weather conditions.