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Avalanche kills German in Bernese Oberland

Malcolm Curtis · 20 Jan 2013, 21:15

Published: 20 Jan 2013 21:15 GMT+01:00

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The man was one of a group of four mountaineering skiers below the summit of the Ärmighorn, a 2,742-metre peak above the Ramslauenen ski area, the prosecutor for Bern’s Oberland region said in a statement issued on Sunday.

Two of the group were swept 450 metres down a slope by the avalanche, shortly after 1pm on Saturday, the statement said.

One of the men was slightly injured but managed to free himself and find his colleague, the prosecutor said.

The two skiers who were not hit by the snow slide contacted Rega, the Swiss  air rescue service.

But the victim, a resident of Bern, was dead by the time the rescuers could deliver assistance, the prosecutor said.

Two Rega helicopters were dispatched to the accident scene.

The accident is the latest in a string of fatalities and injuries linked to avalanches in the Swiss Alps in the past six weeks.

A 23-year-old Swedish woman died after being carried away by an avalanche while skiing off-piste near Nendaz in the canton of Valais on December 19th.

A 39-year-old Dutch man was killed on December 8th by a snow slide while skiing off-piste in Wengen, another resort in the Bernese Oberland.

Eleven skiers were caught in an avalanche at the Titlis resort in Obwalden on December 9th but all but two escaped injury.

The WSL institute for snow and avalanche research said on Sunday that blowing snow posed the greatest danger in Swiss mountain regions.

The centre identified a “marked risk” for avalanches in Alpine areas extending from the canton of Valais through to Andermatt and the canton of Graubünden to the east.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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