23-Year-Old Backcountry Skier Killed by Avalanche in Swiss Alps

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Stock image of Swiss rescue helicopters attending an avalanche. Credit: SLF

An avalanche claimed a skier’s life in Switzerland yesterday after the Alps received record-breaking amounts of snow. The accident occurred the day after authorities issued elevated avalanche warnings for some areas of the country.

Three members of a party of five, skiing in the backcountry near the Titlis mountain, were caught by the avalanche at around 10:15 am local time. Two managed to self-rescue without serious injury. The third, a 23-year old skier, was buried, and despite being found by rescue crews and given resuscitation treatment, succumbed to his injuries.

The location of the avalanche. Credit: SLF

An investigation into what triggered the avalanche is underway. There is an elevated avalanche threat throughout northern Ticino, including Centovalli, and in the southern valleys of Graubünden and the Upper Engadine. In these regions, it’s a Level 4 on the five-part danger scale, reports SRF Metro.

According to SLF.ch, five people were killed by avalanches in Switzerland last season. Maybe due to lockdowns in March, but that number was significantly lower than the average of eighteen deaths per year and the lowest number of avalanche deaths since the 1960s.

Switzerland is continuing to run its ski lifts throughout the covid-19 pandemic, as, one by one, their European neighbors shut their resorts until January. Andorra was the latest area to do so.

avalanche, current danger
Today’s (12/8/20) avalanche danger in the Swiss Alps. Credit: SLF

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