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Crumbling ice Alpine glacier tongue collapses but no damage

The Trift glacier covers an area of about 2.5 square kilometres above the Saas valley in the Swiss Alps 

(Keystone)

Parts of a glacier in the southwestern Swiss Alps have crashed down without causing major damage.

Police in canton Valais said an area of unstable ice tongue of the Trift glacier above the village of Saas Grund, near the resort of Saas Fee, fell on lower-flying part of the 2.5km long glacier.

The authorities evacuated about 220 people in the Saas valley for safety reasons, but the residents were allowed to go back to their houses on Sunday.

About a third of the unstable ice masses are still expected to crash down, officials said. A surveillance system is continuing to monitor the area.

Experts noted that the ice of the glacier tongue began flowing at an increasingly faster pace over the past few days.

The cable cars and mountain paths in areas around the glacier, which ends at an altitude of 2,750 metres (9,022 feet) above sea level remain closed.

Three years ago, the authorities in the region took similar preventive measures temporarily.

Bondo mudslide

Last month, at least eight people went missing, believed dead, following a massive mudslide in another alpine Swiss region, 120km east of the Saas valley.

Ahead of the weekend the authorities again evacuated people from the mountain village of Bondo, in the Bregaglia valley, following days of heavy rain. But the situation remained calm.

swissinfo.ch with agencies/urs

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