SHARE
COPY LINK

AVALANCHE

One killed, two injured in Swiss avalanche

An avalanche in southern Switzerland has killed one person and injured two others, police said Sunday, the latest deadly incident following heavy snowfall across the region.

One killed, two injured in Swiss avalanche
The Vanil Carré mountain. Photo: Zacharie Grossen/Wikimedia commons

A group of seven French nationals in a skiing party were on a snow ledge near the Vanil Carré mountain in the Chateau-d'Oex district Saturday when the avalanche occurred, said police in Switzerland's Vaud canton.

A 39-year-old man was “totally buried” and killed, while two others survived with minor injuries, said the police statement. 

Switzerland's national weather office earlier in the week raised its avalanche warnings to the highest level across several parts of the country.

Last week, at least three people were killed by an avalanche in western Austria, while French authorities have also warned of a high avalanche risk in the Haute-Savoie region that borders Switzerland.

READ ALSO: Avalanche puts Swiss cable car out of action for months

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 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

SHOW COMMENTS