Four people caught in an avalanche in Switzerland were lucky to escape injury over the weekend. Two hikers were partially buried by snow and two others were knocked into a crevasse, but all four managed to self-rescue.
The avalanche struck the party of five at around 12.40 on Saturday, while they were descending from the Allalin mountain near Sass Fee resort in Canton Valais.
In addition, four other hikers in the vicinity, in two separate groups, were untouched by the avalanche. Emergency services deployed two helicopters and around 60 rescuers, along with dogs, to the area.
Nineteen people were killed in the Swiss Alps last winter, most of them off-piste skiers who were buried by avalanches, according to the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.
The risk of avalanches is thought to have been heightened by warmer temperatures making snow unstable. The threat is then magnified during periods of heavy snowfall that can dump large amounts within a short space of time in mountainous regions.