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Better training, not more laws for adventure sports

Swiss Sports Minister Adolf Ogi has pleaded for better training, rather than tougher legislation, to improve safety standards in the booming adventure sports business.

This content was published on September 22, 1999 - 08:24

Swiss Sports Minister Adolf Ogi has pleaded for better training, rather than tougher legislation, to improve safety standards in the booming adventure sports business.

In a letter outlining the government’s position, Ogi came out against new legislation for adventure sports, despite the recent death of 21 people in a canyoning accident in the Bernese Oberland.

Canyoning, bungee jumping, hydrospeed and other activities were characterised by a thrill and risk factor that sets them apart from regular sports activities supported by the sports ministry, Ogi said.

The decision of whether to take part in such high-risk activities should therefore be taken by the individual and not be regulated by stricter legislation.

However, Ogi stressed that a standard for training and safety measures should be agreed soon – particularly in the canyoning sector.

Canyoning has become a popular tourist activity in various parts of Switzerland and is seen as an attraction that may draw vacationers to a particular resort.

In his letter, Ogi invited regional political authorities, sports clubs and operators of adventure sports activities to present their safety proposals to the sports ministry by October 18.
The government’s initiative comes only a few weeks after 21 young people, most of them Australian tourists, drowned in a flash flood near the town of Interlaken.

The tragic accident has triggered a criminal investigation by the Swiss authorities and the parents of one canyoning victim have taken legal steps against the organisers of the fatal canyoning outing.

The accident also fuelled a debate on whether there should be tighter regulation for adventure sports or whether they ought to be banned outright.

From staff and wire reports.


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