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AVALANCHE

Three Spaniards die in Swiss avalanche

Three Spanish ski tourers died after being engulfed by an avalanche in the Swiss Alps, police said on Sunday.

Three Spaniards die in Swiss avalanche
File photo: AFP

Police in the canton of Valais said two fellow skiers survived the avalanche, which hit Saturday afternoon as they headed for the Fiescheralp area at an altitude of some 2,450 metres.

“According to the investigation, the victims are Spaniards. Formal identification of the deceased is under way,” a police statement said, adding that another group nearby managed to raise the alert.

The five swept away were all wearing detection devices, helping rescuers to locate the two survivors and airlift them to hospital.

However, poor visibility hampered an operation which had to be broken off overnight before rescuers recovered three bodies Sunday.

Valais police had Thursday warned that fresh snowfalls and high winds had notably increased the risk of avalanches above 2,000 metres.

READ ALSO: Swiss roads and rails blocked by avalanches and landslides

AVALANCHE

Two Spanish skiers killed in Pyrenees avalanche

Two Spanish skiers were killed on Saturday when an avalanche hit a group skiing off-piste on a mountain in southwestern France, rescue services said.

Two Spanish skiers killed in Pyrenees avalanche
The accident happened near the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel. Photo: Coline Buch/Flickr
The three other members of the group managed to raise the alarm after their companions went missing just before midday. About 20 gendarme rescuers were deployed along with dogs and two helicopters, the authorities said.
   
Rescue workers found one man dead in the snow while the other was discovered alive by a rescue dog but died later in a Toulouse hospital.
   
On Friday, four skiers were killed in the Mercantour National park in the French Alps, the deadliest avalanche of the winter so far. Their guide was detained by police for potentially putting the group at risk.
 
France has seen heavy snowfalls since the start of the week, as a blast of icy weather from Siberia engulfed Europe before warmer weather swept in from the south from Thursday.
   
More than 20 people have now died since France's ski season began in November. On February 15 an avalanche in the Pyrenees mountains killed three skiers.