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Dangerous conditions Avalanches claim two lives in Switzerland

Skiers at Flumserberg resort

Several areas of Switzerland have been placed on high alert for avalanches since Christmas


A 56-year-old man and a 31-year-old man have died in hospital after being buried in separate avalanches this week. The authorities have placed several areas at high avalanche risk following recent adverse weather conditions.

A skier was trapped by a slab of falling snow in the popular Flumserberg ski area in eastern Switzerland on Thursday afternoon. A companion alerted the authorities, sparking a search by police, the fire brigade, alpine rescuers aided by dogs and helicopters.

The man was found and transported to hospital. But it was announced on Friday that he never recovered from his injuries.

Also on Thursday, a snowboarder was carried away by an avalanche in Davos, southeast Switzerland. His companions managed to dig him out, but he also succumbed to his injuries on Friday. A second avalanche in the same region on Thursday left another snowboarder with a broken thigh.

Both regions sit in an area stretching from central to southeast Switzerland that is rated as being at the greatest danger of avalanches.

Storms that brought heavy snow and rainfall just before Christmas led the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Researchexternal link to raise avalanche warnings significantly over large swathes of Switzerland.

The risk of avalanches has subsequently fallen, the institute says, but remains at “considerable” levels in some areas. Skiers have been warned not to stray off-piste for fear of triggering avalanches.

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