Eight people missing after Graubünden rockfall: police

Eight people, including German, Austrian and Swiss citizens, are missing following a landslide that forced the evacuation of several small villages in southeastern Switzerland on Wednesday, police said on Thursday.

Eight people missing after Graubünden rockfall: police
Photo: Graubuenden police
“In the region of Val Bondasca, eight people who were there at the time of the landslide have not been found,” Graubünden cantonal police said in a statement.
Six of them were reported missing by relatives.
The landslide happened on the Piz Cengalo, producing a wave of rubble and mud that travelled down the Bondasca valley. 
The events triggered the area's rockfall alarm system – installed after a previous huge rockfall in 2012 – meaning before the debris approached the village of Bondo the fire service was able to evacuate its inhabitants, as well as people staying at two Swiss Alpine Club cabins nearby. 
However on Thursday morning they said search teams, assisted by a helicopter, had been looking through the night for the eight missing people.
“There are often hikers in the affected area,” Graubunden police spokesman Markus Walser told Blick, adding that the area did not have mobile phone reception.
“We hope this is the reason we have not been able to reach the people believed to be in the area,” he added.
Images showed an unstoppable mass of thick mud and sludge moving down the mountainside like lava, ripping apart at least one building in its path and partially engulfing others.
A broad swathe of farmland was covered in a grey, moving mass.
Police said 12 farm buildings, including barns and stables, had been destroyed by the flow of debris, while Graubunden's main southern highway, linking Stampa to Castasegna, was closed to traffic.

The following video shows the rockfall on the Piz Cengalo. 


Graubünden village faces new rockfall threat

The village of Bondo in the Val Bregaglia region of Graubünden is once more under threat of rockfalls just a few months after residents began to return home following a huge landslide that hit the village in August.

Graubünden village faces new rockfall threat
Bondo after last summer's landslides. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Some four million cubic metres of rock detached from the Piz Cengalo mountain on August 23rd after a period of heavy rain, sending a wave of mud, rock and debris into the village that destroyed some properties and cut off vital services
The landslide was so severe that its vibrations were measured to be the equivalent of a 3 magnitude earthquake. 
Eight hikers were presumed killed in the tragedy – their bodies were never found – and the village, though thankfully evacuated in time, was left uninhabitable until October
Now the village is faced with the prospect of further rockfalls. 
Officials from the region told the media that another large rockfall occurred on the Piz Cengalo last week, and some two million cubic metres of rock remain unstable, with at least half of that at high risk of falling in the coming days. 
Torrential rain forecast for the area over the next few days, which is particularly bad news since the retention basin – built to help protect the village from rockfalls – has not yet been entirely emptied after the last landslide.