Tragedy in The Swiss Alps as One 14-Year-Old Confirmed Dead and Two More in Critical Condition After “School Hike”

Julia Schneemann |
Scaletta Hut, Blenio Valley, Switzerland, picture: Swiss Alpine Club Website

Tragedy struck on a school hike in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino in the south of Switzerland when a 14-year-old boy fell 328 ft (100 m) to his death. The boy, an Italian citizen, was hiking with a school group and for reasons yet to be investigated by police, fell 100 m to his death.

It appears the deceased boy struck another boy from the same group on his fall, taking him down the mountain towards a creek. A Swiss boy of similar age who was in the vicinity attempted to get to their aid but ended up falling down to the creek as well. The latter two boys were severely injured and have been airlifted in a critical state to the hospital.

Val Blenio
Blenio Valley, Ticino, Switzerland, picture: Swiss Alpine Club Website

The deceased boy lost his footing near the Scaletta hut which is located at 7,234 ft (2,205 m). While the hiking route is not technically difficult, the route is slippery and prone to smaller rockslides in several parts. It is possible he lost his footing on loose rocks.

The number of hiking accidents in Switzerland this year is at a record height. Total numbers for 2022 are not available yet, however, Rega—the Swiss helicopter rescue unit—reported they had 2,100 helicopter rescues this July which is a 33% increase from the 5-year average. The Swiss government had to issue several warnings to not venture out ill-equipped. It is believed that the European heatwave contributed to more rockslides and more difficult terrain, causing some of these accidents. In addition, a record number of people have sought respite from the heat in the Swiss mountains.

Hiking fatalities
Hiking fatalities per year in Switzerland, source: Swiss Alpine Club, picture:

It is important people do not underestimate the mountains and understand that they need to wear adequate clothing and carry proper equipment. A German Youtuber climbed a Swiss mountain last month in flip-flops and swimming trunks. We will not post a link to this video on SnowBrains because we do not condone this kind of dangerous and reckless behavior.

Mountain Hut Ticino
Scaletta Hut, Ticino, Switzerland, picture: Swiss Alpine Club Website

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