Monday, April 22, 2024
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Avalanche at Zermatt ski resort in Switzerland kills three people

An avalanche at the top Swiss ski resort of Zermatt has killed three people and injured one, as authorities warned of the risk of more disasters due to heavy winds and snowfall.

Video images on social media showed a wall of snow crossing an off-piste sector of the Riffelberg sector of Zermatt, one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the Alps. A major rescue operation was launched despite the bad weather.

The search was suspended in the evening, Valais canton said on X, confirming three people had died and one was injured.

Heavy snowfall and very strong winds had prompted authorities to warn of a major avalanche risk in the southern Swiss Alps.

The risk was considered especially high in the Grisons and Valais cantons, both popular ski destinations.

“Very large, and in some cases extremely large, spontaneous avalanches are to be expected,” the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research said.

Before Monday, 14 people had died in 12 avalanches and accidents in Switzerland so far this season, the SLF said. Most of the victims have been cross-country skiers.

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