Safety drive seeks to restore image of canyoning

A new book insists canyoning can be safe Keystone

The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) has heartily endorsed the sport of canyoning, a year after 21 people were killed while traversing a canyon in the Bernese Oberland.

This content was published on July 19, 2000 minutes

The club has just released a new guide book entitled "Canyoning in safety". The SAC maintains that canyoning can be a safe sport, although it recognises that it carries associated dangers.

It insists risks could be minimised by higher standards of training and instruction for guides and participants alike, and more rigorous security management.

But the SAC is against any formal regulation and says the very nature of the sport means it must continue to provide a challenge to participants. "We don't have any regulations for rock climbing, so why do we need any for canyoning?" SAC president, Franz Stämpfli, told swissinfo.

The book contains safety guidelines for canyoners. It explains what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a flash flood. It points out the importance of having the right equipment and having a clear understanding of the nature of currents and how they can change.

Author, Roger Büdeler, says canyoners sometimes take unnecessary risks. "Many people don't know all the regulations. Sometimes they're not careful enough with safety, and I hope that by reading this book they will become more aware of safety."

Stämpfli denied the book was published in response to last year's accident, saying it was planned before the disaster took place.

The publication comes just a week before the first anniversary of a canyoning accident near the Swiss resort of Interlaken. Twenty-one people were killed on July 27, 1999, when a flash flood swept through a river gorge.

swissinfo with agencies

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