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Switzerland: 3 dead, 1 injured after Zermatt avalanche

April 1, 2024

Swiss authorities launched a rescue operation after the avalanche at the ski resort town. Police did not identify the victims or say if more people could be missing.

Tourists taking photos in front of the Matterhorn mountain in Zermatt
Zermatt lies near the Matterhorn, a famous Alpine mountainImage: Denis Balibouse/REUTERS

Swiss police said Monday that three people were killed and another one injured following an avalanche at the popular ski resort town of Zermatt. 

The victims were swept away earlier in the day amid avalanche warnings in the southern Alps of Switzerland and Austria.

What do we know so far? 

Authorities launched a rescue operation and had discovered the bodies of the victims. Swiss police did not divulge the identities of the victims or say if more people could be missing after the disaster. 

Police for the southwestern Swiss canton of Valais where the avalanche occurred say the search operations will be put on hold for today after the discovery of the bodies.

The search for the missing proved difficult for Swiss authorities due to the massive amount of snow in the area. 

Matterhorn: Symbol of Switzerland

The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (WLF), based in the Swiss city of Davos, said earlier Monday that "very large and occasionally extremely large spontaneous avalanches are to be expected" in the southern Swiss Alps.

According to the WLF figures from the end of March, 14 people have died in a dozen avalanche accidents in Switzerland this winter.    

wd/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)