Avalanche claims skier’s life in central Switzerland

Some areas of Switzerland saw up to 60cms of fresh snow fall on Sunday. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

A skier has died in central Switzerland after being caught up in an avalanche. The accident comes a day after the authorities had issued elevated avalanche warnings for some areas of the country, following heavy snowfall.

This content was published on December 7, 2020 - 18:42

The 23-year-old victim died on the scene near the Titlis mountain, despite being found by rescue workers and receiving resuscitation treatment. Two other skiers, out of a party of five, were also hit by the avalanche but managed to free themselves without serious injury.

The group was skiing off-piste when the avalanche struck at around 10.15am. An investigation into what triggered the avalanche is ongoing.

Heavy snowfall over the weekend - up to 60cms in some areas on Sunday - has disrupted rail and road traffic in southern and southeastern Switzerland.  

According to SRF Meteo – the Swiss public broadcaster’s weather service - there is an elevated avalanche threat throughout northern Ticino, including Centovalli, and in the southern valleys of Graubünden and the Upper Engadine. In these regions, it’s a Level 4 on the five-part danger scale.

From the southern Valais to the eastern Bernese Oberland to Alpstein and in the remaining areas of Graubünden, it’s danger Level 3, reported SRF Meteo on Sunday.

Unlike many other countries in Europe, Switzerland has decided to open its ski resorts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Five people were killed by avalanches in Switzerland last season, a number that was significantly lower than the average 18 deaths per year in recent winters. It was the lowest number of avalanche deaths in 60 years.

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