A 24-year-old ski patroller was killed on Monday when he and a colleague were caught by an avalanche while laying safety-control charges at the Portes du Soleil ski area, Switzerland amid extreme weather that has claimed dozens of lives across Europe, reports The Local.
The two men were laying explosive charges to artificially trigger avalanches when they were struck by an avalanche at around 11.25am in the area between Champoussin and Les Crosets, regional newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported.
One of the men was able to free himself from the snow and he and several of his colleagues then attempted to rescue the other patroller. However, the 24-year-old man died on site. The two men were equipped with avalanches transceivers, Swiss media reported.
The death came on a day when a large area of the Swiss Alps stretching from the east of the Bernese Oberland to the canton of Graubünden was at level 5 for avalanche risk – the highest possible risk level.
“I want to make it clear: it is very dangerous,” Kurt Winkler of Switzerland´s snow and avalanche research center SLF said in an interview published by papers in the TA Media group on Monday.
That risk has since been downgraded to level 4 with drier conditions expected over the coming days. People without experience should remain on open ski runs and trails.
Multiple avalanches have moved Europe’s Alpine areas over the last few days, claiming at least 28 lives and isolating thousands or villagers in remote areas.