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Several people to be charged in canyoning accident

The Saxetbach canyoning accident cost 21 people their lives.

(Keystone / Alessandro della Valle)

A Swiss judge has filed criminal charges against several people involved in last year's Saxetbach whitewater canyoning accident. Eighteen tourists and three guides were killed when a flash flood swept through a creek near Interlaken on July 27 1999.

The investigating judge, Martin Trapp, told swissinfo charges had been laid and confirmed the investigation is over, but he refused to say how many people were involved. He said a news conference would be held next Wednesday, at which details would be revealed.

Unconfirmed reports say eight people will stand trial, all from the company, Adventure World, which organised the fateful trip. The investigation, which started in August 1999, had originally targeted 11 people.

Adventure World, which has since closed down, says the effects of the bad weather could not have been foreseen at the time. Furthermore, the company had guided 35,000 people safely through the Saxetbach creek in six years.

Most of the victims were from Australia.

The Australian authorities are pleased to see the investigation come to an end. Malcolm Skelly, the Australian consul in Geneva, told swissinfo he would be present to support the victims' families during the trial.

The body of one of the Australian victims has still not been found.

swissinfo with agencies

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