WATCH: 700-metre wide avalanche swallows Swiss road

WATCH: 700-metre wide avalanche swallows Swiss road
Screen grab: Michael Zurfluh/Swiss Helicopter AG
It should have been just another day on the job for pilots with Swiss Helicopter but even they couldn't contain their excitement as a massive controlled avalanche swept down over the Urseren Valley in the canton of Uri.

“Wow. Wow!” crew member Michael Zurfluh can be heard saying in the video below which shows the avalanche devouring some 700 metres of the Furkastrasse road between Hospental and Realp – part of the approach to the Furka Pass which links the Swiss cantons of Uri and Valais.

Video: Michael Zurfluh/Swiss Helicopter AG

“We abandoned the landing and then stayed in a holding pattern so that we could watch the avalanche. That gave me time to film it,” Zurfluh told Swiss news site 20 Minuten.

The controlled avalanche was triggered at 4pm on Saturday for security reasons as there was still heavy snow cover on the mountains.

The man behind the operation, Fredi Gisler with the Uri cantonal road department, was also amazed by what he saw.

“A huge lot of stuff came down. The road was covered up to seven metres deep,” he told Swiss daily Blick.

Road clearing operations  immediately and drivers were able to use the road to Realp again from midday on Sunday. The 2,429-metre high Furka Pass itself is only open to traffic in summer.

Meteorologists warned recently that very warm temperatures and continued snow cover meant an increased risk of avalanches at the moment.