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Rescue operation Final body found after fatal avalanche

Snow covered mountain

The avalanche covered a distance of about 400 metres

(Keystone)

Rescuers have found the fourth and final person who went missing after being swept away by an avalanche in a ski area of Switzerland six weeks ago.

The incident took place on March 21 in the Vallon d'Arbiexternal link region near to Riddes in canton Valais. This is situated near the popular Verbier ski resort in the French-speaking part of southwest Switzerland.

Two other skiers caught up in the avalanche managed to free themselves, according to police. All six were skiing off marked pistes.

The body of the final victim, a Swiss man aged 57 has now been found, Valais cantonal police said in a statementexternal link on Friday.

Search efforts had been been officially stopped on March 21, but intermittent searches had been carried out since then, police said. The body, found on Thursday, was transported by helicopter to Sion.

The three other victims, all French and aged between 20 and 30 years old, were found in the days following the accident covered in six metres of snow.

Switzerland experienced unusually high levels of snow this winter, which has raised avalanche warnings to the maximum alert in several areas.

Earlier this year, thousands of tourists were cut off in the popular resort of Zermatt as the risk of avalanches twice forced the authorities to close of rail and road links. The resorts of Saas-Fee and Andermatt were also snowed in for a period.

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the canton as Vaud.

swissinfo.ch/mga/ilj

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