Avalanches strike again in southern Switzerland

Rescue personnel were called to the site of an avalanche that injured two on Sunday. Keystone

Two people were injured in an avalanche in the southern Swiss canton of Valais, cantonal police reported Sunday. Earlier in the day, another person was hospitalised by a separate avalanche in the area.

This content was published on February 18, 2018 - 17:09

One avalanche was triggered Sunday afternoon in the municipality of Finhaut at an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,202 feet), carrying away two people. Swiss Public Radio, RTS reported “light injuries” but no other casualties, correcting a previous dispatch from Valais cantonal police that said ten people had been swept away.

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Earlier on Sunday, Valais police and the Valais Cantonal Rescue OrganisationExternal link (OCVS) reported that another individual had been hospitalised after being caught in a separate avalanche. 

The authorities called for the use of caution by skiers, as several avalanches had already occurred outside of secured ski areas, either spontaneously or after being triggered by off-piste thrill-seekers.

The avalanche risk level for the entire canton is currently set at three (“marked risk”), on a scale of fiveExternal link by the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research avalanche bulletin.

The huge amount of snowfall this winter has already resulted in the isolation of major ski resorts and closure of rail and road access due to avalanche risk, and led to a record number of dynamite-triggered avalanches being set off in an effort to clear snow and prevent accidents. 

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