Four hikers escape unharmed after Swiss avalanche strikes

The avalanche started on the Allalin mountain but missed the marked ski area in Saas Fee. © Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Four people have escaped injury after being hit by an avalanche in western Switzerland. Swiss public broadcaster SRF says two hikers were partially covered by snow and two others were knocked into a crevasse, but all managed to free themselves.

This content was published on October 26, 2019 - 15:57

The avalanche struck at around 12.40 on Saturday, descending from the Allalin mountain but missing the marked ski area at the Saas Fee resort in canton Valais. The four people caught up in the avalanche were part of a five-person hiking party.

Police say all of the affected hikers managed to escape injury. In addition, four other hikers in the vicinity - in two separate groups - were untouched by the avalanche. The emergency services had deployed two helicopters and around 60 rescuers, along with dogs, to the affected area.

Nineteen people were killed in the Swiss Alps last winter, most of them off-piste skiiers 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 the snow more 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.

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