Avalanche puts Swiss cable car out of action for months

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Avalanche puts Swiss cable car out of action for months
Photo: Switzerland Tourism

One week after an avalanche forced a hotel in eastern Switzerland to be evacuated, a second avalanche in the same area has put a cable car out of action - potentially for months - until it can be repaired.


One of the supporting pillars on the Säntisbahn cable car was struck by the second avalanche, which hit on Sunday night, and operators have said it could take months to ensure people can use it safely once again.

A team of experts is currently examining the damage and determining the best course of action.

The economic impact of the incident cannot be calculated at this moment, according to Bruno Vattioni, managing director of the Säntisbahn. 

The company employs around 180 people but none are set to lose their jobs.  

Sunday night's avalanche was the second avalanche in a matter of just days in the Schwägalp area, which is at the foot of the Säntis mountain in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden.

On January 10th, three people were treated for minor injuries after a 300-metre wide avalanche hit the restaurant of the Hotel Säntis in Schwägalp.
Around 20 cars were also buried by snow near the hotel which is located next to the Säntis cable car station.

Read More: Clean up begins after avalanche crashes into hotel in eastern Switzerland

As much as 1.5 metres of snow had fallen in the time between the two avalanches.

A Swiss Post bus was half buried by the 300-metre wide avalanche on January 10. Photo: Kantonspolizei Appenzell Ausserrhoden

Earlier this week, the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) raised avalanche warnings to their highest level across a large swathe of the Swiss Alps. The risk has subsequently dropped but conditions across much of the Alps in Switzerland remain treacherous.

On Tuesday, a Swedish skier died in Valais after being struck by an avalanche. A day earlier, also in Valais, a ski patroller was killed while laying explosives to try and safeguard ski pistes in the huge Portes du Soleil ski area.



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