News24

5 dead after Swiss avalanches

2010-01-04 13:22

Diemtigen - Bad weather was hampering rescue workers searching for three people believed trapped under snow after a series of avalanches killed at least five people in Swiss Alps, police said on Monday.

Authorities also warned that the avalanche risk is still high after avalanches hit a group of skiers and then the rescuers who came to their aid in the Diemtig Valley, about 40km south of the capital Bern, on Sunday.

An emergency doctor who was part of the rescue team was among the four people confirmed killed there.

Bern police they believed at least three skiers were still missing. It said rescue efforts would depend on the weather conditions. Officials had halted the rescue and recovery operation at nightfall Sunday.

Separately, two skiers were buried in another avalanche near the town of Verbier close to the borders with France and Italy. One person was killed while his guide was rescued alive, police in the southern canton of Valais said.

The start of the ski season and heavy snowfall in recent days have prompted officials to warn of a heightened avalanche risk in the Swiss Alps.