Search for missing Spanish canyoning tourist resumes

Another popular canyoning spot is river Riale d'Iragna in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino. Ti-press

The search for a Spaniard who went missing in a canyoning accident resumed on Friday afternoon after an interruption due to bad weather. Three of his compatriots have already been found dead after being taken by surprise by a severe storm in northeastern Switzerland on Wednesday.

This content was published on August 15, 2020 - 17:44
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Police said poor weather conditions on Friday morning made the search too dangerous to continue. A search team combed the area on Friday and again on Saturday, small teams were deployed to continue the search for the missing tourist.

The bodies of three Spanish tourists, who made up the rest of the canyoning group, were found on Thursday morning. The accident occurred in the Parlitobel Gorge near Pfäfers in canton St Gallen.

According to police, the Spaniards were canyoning on their own and had not hired a guide as they were familiar with the adventure sport. The men aged 30, 33, 38 and 48 years old were also accompanied by two women, one of whom was the wife of one of the victims. They all hail from the region of Navarre in northern Spain and arrived in Switzerland a few days ago to go canyoning.

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The six Spaniards were in the upper part of the gorge around 4pm on Wednesday. The two women walked down the path back into the valley and the four men started their descent into the gorge. The unfortunate four did not arrive at the rendezvous point at the scheduled time and the women alerted the police around 7pm.

Rescue teams had already been hampered by the weather when they were called out on Wednesday evening. Due to the ongoing operation, access to the accident site has been cordoned off by the police.

Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sànchez expressed his condolences to the family of the victims and thanked the Swiss rescuers for their search efforts.

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It was a Swiss canyoning accident over two decades ago that kickstarted the movement to make safety certifications compulsory for adventure sports companies. In 1999, 21 adventure-seekers, mostly Australians, lost their lives in a canyoning mishap in Saxeten in the popular tourist region of Interlaken. 


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