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US teenager among three killed in Swiss avalanche

A police handout photo of the search and rescue operation at Zermatt on Monday
A police handout photo of the search and rescue operation at Zermatt on Monday - Copyright AFP -
A police handout photo of the search and rescue operation at Zermatt on Monday - Copyright AFP -

One of the three people killed by an avalanche at the luxury Swiss ski resort of Zermatt was a 15-year-old boy from the United States, police said Tuesday.

The two others killed in Monday’s avalanche were “a man and a woman who are still being identified”, the Wallis regional police said in a statement.

“Regarding the female victim, we so far have no information allowing us to identify her.”

The large avalanche happened in an out-of-bounds area at Zermatt in southern Switzerland shortly after 2:00 pm (1200 GMT), and an extensive search was immediately carried out despite bad weather.

Of the four people pulled out of the snow, only one was still alive, a 20-year-old Swiss man who was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital.

The authorities had warned of a significant avalanche risk in the Alpine regions of southern Switzerland in recent days because of heavy snowfall and high winds.

Around 17 people have lost their lives in avalanches in Switzerland since October 1 last year, according to statistics from the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.

A total of 147 avalanche-related accidents have occurred during the period, involving 197 people.

AFP
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