Avalanches in Switzerland kills five people, 3 missing

Five people died in avalanches in Switzerland at the weekend and at least three were still missing, police said.

Avalanches in Switzerland kills five people, 3 missing

Five people died in avalanches in Switzerland at the weekend, including a doctor flown in to help rescue trapped skiers, and at least three were still missing, police said on Monday.

Four people were killed in the Bernese Oberland, a region in western Switzerland popular with British tourists, when two avalanches on Sunday hit first a group of skiers and then rescuers too, Bernese police spokesman Otto von Allmen said at a news conference.

Two of the dead were Swiss, one German and the fourth victim was not yet formally identified, regional investigating judge Matthias Wiedmer said at the conference. Still missing were two Swiss and a German skier.

The first group of skiers, members of another group who had gone to the rescue of the first, and a team from Switzerland's Rega helicopter emergency service were hit by the second avalanche.

A doctor was engulfed and died later in hospital. Rega said it was the first time one of its doctors had been killed by an avalanche.

Bad weather made the search for the missing impossible on Monday and efforts were set to resume on Tuesday, Switzerland's Alpine rescue service said at the conference.

A German and a Canadian woman, two German men and one Swiss man were injured in the incident, though none was in a critical condition, police said.

In the southern canton of Valais a Swiss man hiking in the mountains with a guide was killed by a separate avalanche on Sunday, Valais police said.

Rega said 37 people were killed or injured by Swiss avalanches in 2008 and 45 in 2007.

Reuters
Last Mod: 05 Ocak 2010, 00:26
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