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Avalanches claim several lives

This content was published on January 4, 2010 - 08:09

At least three people died and six were injured in avalanches on Sunday in the Bernese Alps – one of the worst accidents of its kind in recent years.

The authorities said they are not certain whether other people are still buried under the snow from the two avalanches that killed two ski mountaineers and a doctor involved in the search and rescue operation.

The cantonal police in Bern said the first avalanche came down a mountainside in the Diemtig Valley shortly before midday on Sunday, burying one of the skiers. Shortly after a search and rescue team arrived on the scene, the second thundered down the slope, trapping several people involved in the rescue operation.

Another rescue squad flown in by several helicopters freed eight people from the snow, and recovered one body. Two died later in hospital from their injuries.

The search for other people who may have been trapped by the snow mass was called off at 6pm, and may resume today.

Another ski mountaineer was killed in an avalanche near the ski resort of Verbier on Sunday. A rescue team was able to free the mountain guide accompanying him.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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