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Site of canyoning disaster to be reopened for trips

Saxet Gorge near Interlaken, the site of last year's canyoning disaster. Keystone

The authorities in canton Berne have decided to reopen the Saxet River for canyoning trips, less than a year after 21 people died in a flash flood. Officials said the river could be used again for canyoning as of June 1.

At a meeting on Tuesday, they rejected a proposal by families of the victims, mostly Australians, to turn the river and surrounding area into a memorial site, which would, in effect, have ruled out using it for extreme sports.

They said they understood the concerns of the families, but indicated that making the entire area a memorial to the victims was unrealistic.

Instead, the authorities said they would look into the possibility of setting up a small park around a stone situated near the river to commemorate the accident.

The cantonal government also announced that it will more closely monitor the activities of companies offering extreme sports, and subsidise training courses for canyoning guides.

The company that led last year’s tragic canyoning trip, Adventure World, filed for bankruptcy last week, shortly after being responsible for a second fatal accident, this time involving bungy jumping. An employee mistakenly gave a young American tourist the wrong length of rope. The man died on impact with the ground.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR