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Dozen deaths Swiss heatwave blamed for recreational deaths

A hiker

Nine people have recently died hiking in Switzerland

(Keystone)

At least 12 people have died in the mountains or waterways over a ten-day period as record temperatures gripped Switzerland in a heatwave. Nine died hiking or climbing while three more drowned since July 30.

The hot weather was responsible for more people taking to the mountains, according to the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC). Record temperatures have also melted permafrost, making rockfalls more likely, the agency added.

However, most mountain deaths were from falls, including two women in the Bernese Alps, another two in canton Graubünden and two in canton Valais. A further two Swiss casualties were recorded on the French side of Mont Blanc and in Liechtenstein.

The record-breaking temperatures also saw many people take to the lakes and rivers to cool off. This resulted in drownings in the lakes of Zurich and Lugano, as well as the river Aare. One of the victims was a 27-year-old man from Benin, the Swiss news agency reports.

Last year a total of 41 people drowned in Switzerland, compared with 58 in 2016. In the hot summer of 2015 some 50 people drowned. The figure peaked at 89 in 2003, which was until this year a record heatwave in Switzerland.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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