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Fatal walk Hiker killed by avalanche in Swiss Alps

Swiss mountain rescue teams from Rega, Air Glaciers and Air Zermatt and the Bern cantonal police were called out to help look for the hikers


A man died on Sunday after being swept away by an avalanche while snow-shoe hiking with friends above Kandersteg in the Bernese Oberland region. His two companions were found unharmed.

The cantonal police reported on Monday external linkthat a sheet of snow had broken off above the trio at around 5pm in the Hohtürli area.

Rescue teams quickly located them and two of the walkers were winched to safety by helicopter and taken to hospital.

The third man was found by an avalanche dog. After receiving emergency treatment on the spot, he was also flown by helicopter to hospital where he later died from his injuries, the police reported. 

In canton Graubünden, a group of four people ski touring were also hit by an avalanche on Sunday at Piz Belvair. One person was buried by the avalanche, but managed to free himself. A married couple was also buried but were located and released from the snow by the other companion using an avalanche detector.

Two Germans were also buried by snow during their ascent to the Maighels Hut in canton Graubünden on Sunday. The 35-year-old woman is in critical condition and the man is slightly injured. 

Avalanche danger levelsexternal link across the Swiss Alps are currently between moderate (2) and considerable (3) on a scale of 1-5. Some 20-50cm of fresh snow fell across the Swiss Alps on December 27-28, followed by warmer temperaturesexternal link.

Four people have now died in separate avalanche accidents in the Swiss Alps over the Christmas period, according to police.  

Around 20 people die every year from avalanches on open terrain in Switzerland. These are mostly triggered by people engaging in recreational backcountry touring or other off-piste activities, including on snowshoes or snowboards.

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