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Canyoning trip organisers to go on trial in December

Flowers were laid near the site of the canyoning disaster to remember the 21 dead Keystone

The Swiss authorities are to put on trial in December the organisers of a canyoning trip, which ended in disaster when 21 people were killed in a flash flood. The eight accused face charges of negligent manslaughter.

The authorities said the trial would take place on December 3, more than two years after the disaster occurred. It will be held in a ballroom in the town of Interlaken instead of a courtroom to accommodate the expected crowds.

The public trial will be held in Interlaken, near the Saxet river gorge where 18 tourists and three guides on a canyoning trip were swept to their deaths by a flash flood on July 27, 1999.

The group was on a canyoning trip, jumping, abseiling and body-surfing in wetsuits down the creek’s rapids and waterfalls when they were caught by a flash flood.

The victims included 14 Australians, two Britons, two South Africans, one New Zealander, and two Swiss. One of the bodies was never found.

Three board members of the now closed Swiss firm Adventure World, which led the tour, and five others are accused of negligence for allowing the trip to go ahead even though a thunder storm was brewing in the area.

Adventure World closed after an unrelated accident last May in which a 22-year-old American died during a bungee jumping trip because the rope the company’s guide used was too long.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR