Blue SOS sprayed in snow saves lost boarder
A 19-year-old snowboarder who got lost in bad weather on Friday was rescued two days later after spraying a blue SOS in the snow.
The French man was snowboarding with a group of Germans in the Swiss mountains near Gemsstock in the canton of Uri when he became separated on an off-piste section, according to news agency ATS.
The group alerted Swiss air rescue service Rega on Friday afternoon, but due to bad weather it was unable to dispatch a helicopter to high altitude.
An extensive search operation involving mountain rescue workers on the ground was unsuccessful.
The terrible conditions also aborted a search by a Super Puma army helicopter using a thermal camera, and put paid to any search attempts on Saturday.
It was only on Sunday morning that Rega could take to the air again, and eventually spotted a blue SOS sprayed on the snow near a small hunting cabin.
Once rescued, the snowboarder explained that he had become disorientated when boarding in bad weather on Friday and became separated from the group.
Finding the cabin, he decided to stay there until conditions improved.
In a separate incident on Saturday, three skiers had a lucky escape in the resort of Villars when they got caught in an avalanche that they caused, Vaud cantonal police said in a statement.
Skiing off-piste from the Petit Chamossaire lift down the Combe des Luès, the three, all in their 50s, sparked an avalanche which carried two of them down the mountain.
Luckily they were only slightly injured and were able to extract themselves from the snow.
Having lost their skis in the avalanche, they were rescued by Villars mountain rescue service.
Heavy snow and bad weather affected many parts of the Swiss alps over the weekend, with the avalanche risk remaining high.
In December Rega celebrated one million downloads of its rescue app, which, if used by the person in distress, transmits their exact coordinates to rescuers, making it easier for them to be found.
It has so far been used for 1,500 rescues.