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Investigation into Swiss canyoning accident widens

The Swiss authorities on Tuesday said they were expanding their probe of a whitewater accident that killed 21 people in the Bernese Oberland last month and had placed five more people under formal investigation.

This content was published on August 25, 1999 - 08:31

The Swiss authorities on Tuesday said they were expanding their probe of a whitewater accident that killed 21 people in the Bernese Oberland last month and had placed five more people under formal investigation.

Martin Trapp, who is investigating what caused the tragedy at Saxetenbach creek on July 27, said his probe had widened to include two base leaders and three management board members of the Adventure World company that organised the fatal canyoning excursion.

The move brought to 11 the number of formal suspects facing possible charges of involuntary manslaughter.

The five surviving guides and one base leader had already been notified that they were targets of the investigation.

In a statement, Trapp said the cause of the disaster had been bad weather. He said the Saxetenbach creek was known for its "waves" of fast rising water when there was a thunderstorm.

He said theories that the flood may have been unleashed when a natural dam of timber and debris gave way had been discounted.

The investigation aims to establish whether the guides were negligent in allowing the trip to go ahead in spite of bad weather. Managers of Adventure World say their guides received tough training that included coping with flood conditions.

From staff and wire reports.


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