Three accidents happened during the weekend break, claiming several victims in the mountains of Switzerland, killing 9 victims. News from 20 minutes – In the Pigne d’Arolla region in the canton of Valais, 14 ski tour riders went into a storm and had to spend the night outdoors. Four of them did not survive the hardships. On Monday and Tuesday, two more victims died in the hospital, as the Valais canton police announced on Tuesday.
The 14 ski tourers all started on Sunday from the “Cabane des Dix” at 2928 meters above sea level. They were traveling in two different groups: a group of four and a group of ten people, one of whom was a mountain guide. Both groups wanted to reach the “Vignettes” hut at 3157 meters via the classic route “la Serpentine”.
They were surprised in the area Pigne d’Arolla by a storm. They did not get any further and had to spend the night outside at over 3000 meters. Apparently they were not equipped for that.
Guardian warns alarm
The Guardian of the Cabane des Vignettes raised the alarm at 6.30 am on Monday morning after not finding the groups in the hut as expected. The local rescue services then immediately launched a relief operation, as the Valais canton police announced.
Seven helicopters of Air Glacier, Air Zermatt and Rega flew into the area. There, the rescuers found the 14 people. Several of them were severely overcooled and one person was already dead. She had died after falling.
The rescuers flew the ski tourers to various hospitals in Valais as well as to Bern and Lausanne. There died until the afternoon, three more people. Five of the rescued were still in critical condition on Monday night. The others suffered lighter hypothermia and were not in mortal danger.
The ski tour riders are Italian, French, German and Bulgarian nationals. The victims were not identified in the late afternoon. The cantonal police set up an auxiliary telephone for the relatives. The prosecutor initiated an investigation.
Two young mountaineers found dead at the monk
The second disaster occurred in the region of the monk on the border between the cantons of Bern and Valais. The victims are a 21-year-old from the canton of Bern and a 22-year-old from the canton of Basel-Landschaft.
The young climbers had already been reported missing on Sunday evening. As a result, a large search campaign was started immediately. But the bad weather conditions made the search difficult.
The men could only be found lifeless on Monday morning. The rescuers currently assume that the casualties did not survive the night due to cold temperatures and exhaustion.
The third disaster occurred on Monday afternoon in Valais. A touring skier was buried by a slab in the ascent to the “Feejoch”. The 49-year-old Frenchman could be salvaged and flown by helicopter to the hospital. There he died on Tuesday at night.
His companion was injured, but is not in mortal danger.
More news – in Swiss German.
The news told by Tribune de Geneve
Six mountaineers lost their lives after spending the night from Sunday to Monday outdoors in the Arolla (VS) region. They were part of a group of 14 mountaineers stranded Sunday by a storm.
A vast rescue operation was launched Monday morning after an alert launched around 06:30 by the keeper of the hut Vignettes. Seven Air Glacier, Air Zermatt and Rega helicopters and several doctors and guides had to be mobilised, the police said on Monday.
Rescuers discovered that 14 people were in distress. They had spent the night outside. Many suffered from hypothermia. One had already died, probably a fall. Around 12:30, all mountaineers had been sent to a hospital in Valais, Bern or Lausanne.
Three climbers died after arriving at the hospital, five were still between life and death on Monday at the end of the day. The others suffer from mild hypothermia and their lives are not in danger.
Mountaineers are Italian, French and German, says the police. The formal identification is not complete. The police set up a helpline to establish contact with families.
Surprised by the storm
According to the first elements of the investigation, mountaineers left the cabin of the Ten, 2928 meters above the dam Dixence on Sunday. They wanted to join the hut Vignettes, 3157 meters above Arolla, the route called “the Serpentine”.
Two groups set off together, a first of 10 people, including a guide and another of four people who was on the high road between Chamonix (F) and Zermatt (VS). The 14 mountaineers were surprised by a storm in the region of Pigne d’Arolla. Their progress has been blocked. They were forced to stop and spend the night at an altitude of 3270 meters.
The wind began to blow in the afternoon and strengthened over the hours. Locally, with the relief, it could be quite strong, says Robert Bolognesi, director of the Meteorisk design office. At the same time, the temperature has dropped rapidly. She was able to go down between -5 and -10 degrees during the night, but with a feeling colder because of the wind.
We have been covering lots of recent accidents in the mountains. The last one in Switzerland being of three Spaniard skiers in Fiescheralp.
We have also written about the avalanches during the Christmas period, two morealso in Switzerland, the ones in the Verbier region, and the last ones on another weekend. This on top of the ones on the Grand Montets area.
Featured Image: Pigne d’Arolla – Here 14 skiers could not get to a refuge caught by a snowstorm.