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Avalanche death numbers are above norm

Avalanches in Switzerland this winter have already killed almost twice as many people as in past years.

Since the start of winter 24 people have died as a result of avalanches, while the norm at this point in the season is usually 13.

Hans-Jürg Etter of the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research said it had been a particularly difficult winter with snow cover so unstable that avalanches could be provoked even when the fresh snow layer was thin.

“For the first time in years, many avalanche victims were not equipped with tracking sensors,” he told the Swiss News Agency.

Six of the victims were not wearing any sensors or had turned them off. More snowboarders were wearing tracking sensors, and so accounted for just three of the avalanche fatalities.

Contributing to the death tally was a double avalanche in the Diemtig Valley in January which killed seven people. and agencies

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