Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Huge landslide narrowly misses Swiss mountain village

At midnight, the community of Albula entered phase blue – the highest of the five danger levels. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

A large section of the crumbling mountain above Brienz/Brinzauls broke off around midnight narrowly missing the village in canton Graubünden in southeastern Switzerland.

The landslide left a huge mass of rock on the cantonal road to Lenzerheide near the village school building, according to a tweet from the municipality of Albula posted around 5am on Friday.

There have been no reports of damage in the village that was evacuated on May 12. 

“We assume that there is more to come, unfortunately,” Albula spokesperson Christian Gartmann told Keystone-SDA early on Friday. 

Side by side images of Brienz (before and after landslide)
Images of Brienz before and after landslide on June 16.

Geologists told a press conference on Friday afternoon that two-thirds of the two million cubic metres of rock threatening to fall had thundered down the mountain above Brienz during the night. Mayor of Albula Daniel Albertin spoke of a lucky day. The experts had not expected the debris flow to stop in front of the village and spare it completely.

Drone picture of the landslide near Brienz.
© Keystone / Michael Buholzer

But the people of Brienz must continue to exercise patience, as safety in the village is not yet guaranteed, Andreas Huwiler, geologist for canton Graubünden, told the media. The debris flow, which in places is piling up to a height of twelve metres, is not yet stable.

External Content

Gartmann said the huge rockfall had only been heard, not seen, because it was pitch black at the time. But the rocks made a lot of noise, he said.

At midnight, the community officially announced “phase blue” – the highest of the five danger levels. “Above Brienz/Brinzauls a very big event has started. The tempo has increased tenfold since Thursday morning,” the Albula community tweeted at just after midnight. The phase blue was lifted on Friday afternoon.



Brienz/Brinzauls is located in the southeastern Swiss canton of Graubünden, at an altitude of about 1,150 metres.

The 86 inhabitants were evacuated on May 12 after geology experts warned that a mass of two million cubic metres of rock looming over the village could break loose.

Officials said at the time that experts saw a 60% chance of the rock falling in smaller chunks that might not reach the village or valley but also a 10% chance that the entire mass could tumble down, threatening lives and property.

On June 7, residents were temporarily allowed to go home for the first time since being evacuated, but only for 90-minute visits.

Life in exile from rockslide-threatened village


Brienz rockslide threat and life in exile

This content was published on Residents of rockslide-threatened Brienz/Brinzauls have been fetching items from their homes to make their lives in exile more bearable.

Read more: Brienz rockslide threat and life in exile


In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR