Switzerland avalanche survivor dug cavity to breathe | News | DW | 09.04.2019
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Switzerland avalanche survivor dug cavity to breathe

A man who was buried by an avalanche dug a gap to allow himself to breathe. He was found by a search dog and extracted by rescuers after being buried for one-and-a-half hours.

A man survived being buried by an avalanche in Switzerland on Tuesday by digging a cavity around himself to give him room to breathe for 90 minutes.

The Swiss air-rescue service Rega said the victim was flown to hospital with hypothermia and fairly severe injuries after Tuesday afternoon's drama.

The survivor had been clearing snow from a road at Göscheneralp, a high alpine valley long used for grazing, but partly flooded to form a hydro-electric dam in the early 1960s.

The alarm was given by a second man, who survived the avalanche unhurt, the Zurich-based rescue service said. 

Spokewoman Karin Zahner said a Rega helicopter team was joined by Swiss Alpine Club rescuers and three avalanche search dog teams.

One of the dogs located the man, who survived because he came to rest under wet snow, but in a hole sufficient to breath.

Göscheneralp lies in a region devastated by extreme snow avalanches in 1951 that killed 96 people, including 13 in neighboring Andermatt, and wiped out alpine cattle herds.

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