Switzerland avalanche: 1 dead as police call off rescue at Crans-Montana | News | DW | 20.02.2019
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Switzerland avalanche: 1 dead as police call off rescue at Crans-Montana

Swiss rescue teams have stopped a search for people after an avalanche killed one and injured three others. It was a rare avalanche onto a busy piste.

One person crushed by an avalanche in the Swiss Alps has died, police said Wednesday, as rescue crews halted a search for more victims following an all-night operation. 

Four people had been wounded in the avalanche on the busy Plaine-Morte ski track at the resort of Crans-Montana, Swiss police said Tuesday. One of the wounded, a 34-year-old French national, died overnight from injuries. 

Rescue crews worked overnight searching for people that could still be buried under an avalanche that rumbled across a popular ski track, but by Wednesday the search was called off.

"Searches that continued through the night have been stopped. They will resume if the situation requires," police said. 

Schweiz Crans-Montana Lawinenunglück (picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Anex)

About half of the 840-meter-long (2755 feet) avalanche smashed across the ski slope

Eight helicopters and more than 240 rescuers and police were involved in the search. 

The Plaine-Morte area is at an altitude of about 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) and is the highest ski piste at the Crans-Montana resort. It is in a bowl high above the resort. More visitors were there than usual as it is the school holiday period. 

Tuesday's snow slide was rare in that it struck a designated ski area, while the majority of deadly avalanches occur off-piste.


cw/msh (AFP, dpa)

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