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AVALANCHE

One dead after avalanche hits Kandersteg snowshoe hikers

A hiker was fatally injured in an avalanche near Kandersteg, in the canton of Bern, on New Year’s Eve.

One dead after avalanche hits Kandersteg snowshoe hikers
Kandersteg. Photo: Thomas Gerber
The man was on a snowshoe hike from Kandersteg to Blüemlisalp with two others on Sunday when they were hit by an avalanche in the Hohtürli area, Bern cantonal police said in a statement.
 
Emergency services quickly located two of the men, who were flown to hospital.
 
A rescue dog tracked down the third man, but he was seriously injured and died in hospital shortly afterwards.
 
After heavy snow before and during the Christmas period, the avalanche danger level in the Swiss Alps is currently at 3 out of 5.

AVALANCHE

Weather warning: Part of Swiss Alps placed on high avalanche alert

Due to the heavy snowfall in recent days and more expected until the weekend, an avalanche warning is issued for Switzerland’s southern canton of Valais.

Weather warning: Part of Swiss Alps placed on high avalanche alert
Avalanche warnings should be taken very seriously. Photo by AFP

Valais authorities said the current avalanche risk level is between 4 and 5, meaning ‘high’ to ‘extreme’.

The population is urged to stay at home. When out, they should obey the signs and especially stay away from the avalanche corridors, officials warned.
 

Significant amounts of snow have fallen in the area in recent days, dumping 1 metre of snow above the altitude of 2,000 metres in the upper part of the canton. Between 30 and 40 centimetres are still expected. 

The highest risk of avalanches is in the Goms valley, the Zermatt valley, as well as the entire right bank of the Rhône. 

Some particularly threatened areas could even be evacuated, authorities said.

People planning to go skiing in Valais over the next few days should check snow conditions and avalanche warnings in place, especially as many roads, mainly in Upper Valais, are cut off, and a number of villages in the Goms Valley, Lötschental and the Zermatt region are no longer accessible by road or train. 

The Avalanche Bulletin is a good source of information not just for Valais, but for all of Switzerland’s mountain regions.

READ MORE: Is the pandemic to blame for Switzerland's spate of avalanche deaths? 

Avalanches have been particularly deadly in Switzerland this winter, having claimed 14 lives so far — well above the average yearly figure of eight people.

Avalanches have caused casualties in the mountains of Valais, Vaud, Graubünden, Obwalden and Schwyz. 

With many people concerned about the potential for contracting coronavirus on the slopes, the idea of skiing off piste has become more attractive. 

But this practice can trigger massive avalanches, so it is crucial to stay away from unsecured slopes.

READ MORE: Large crowds on Swiss ski slopes spark concern over coronavirus spread 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

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