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Mountain deaths up

There was a significant increase in the number of deaths of climbers, trekkers and ski mountaineers in the Swiss Alps and Jura hills last year.

The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) said on Thursday that 124 people died in 2010, which was an increase of 11 per cent on 2009.

The figure increased to 173 when taking into account paragliding and mountain biking fatalities as well as deaths due to natural causes, such as heart attacks.

The largest number of people, 83, died after a fall – more than half of them while hiking. Thirty people died in avalanches – seven more than in 2009. Most were ski mountaineers.

There were nine fewer deaths (17 against 26 in 2009) of people taking part in high alpine mountaineering tours. The SAC said poor weather in August meant there were not as many climbers as usual in the Alps at that time.

The mountaineering club said 15 of the 17 climbers who died in these accidents were foreigners.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR