Hopes are fading of finding at least eight people missing after a landslide in an alpine valley in the Swiss region of Graubünden. UPDATED


The slide happened on Wednesday morning when mud and rock cascaded down the Piz Cengalo mountain, narrowly missing the village of Bondo on the Swiss-Italian border.

The village has been evacuated.

Several farm buildings have been destroyed and others badly damaged.

Swiss police say the slide area is 5km long and tens of metres high in places.

The event was so severe that the vibrations set off seismometers across Switzerland, which measured the equivalent of a magnitude 3.0 earthquake, according to the Swiss Seismological Service.
The eight people missing include Swiss, German and Austrian nationals who were hiking in the Val Bondasca.

The search for them was suspended overnight on Thursday and resumed first thing on Friday.

Police say that another group of five to six people who had been feared missing after going on a hike nearby have been located safe.  [/caption]

Graubünden is one of the larger cantons in Switzerland with the ski resorts of Davos/Klosters, St Moritz, Laax, Flims, Arosa and Lenzerheide within its borders.

This video filmed as the landslide happened was posted on Facebook by Diego Salasc:

And this was the scene in the valley, as witnessed by Luca and posted on the SOS Emergenza Facebook page:


The video below of the debris flowing down the mountain was captured by Michele Battoraro.

An automated warning system that was installed in Bondo after another large landslide in December 2011 registered movement on the Piz Cengalo mountain, alerting the emergency services.

Roads were automatically closed into the village and more than 100 people were moved out.

Geologists say they can’t rule out further slides in the area.

The BBC website reports that 120 rescuers are searching for the missing on the ground with dogs and using helicopters, equipped with infrared cameras and technology to detect mobile phone signals.

It says hikers who were staying in mountain huts have been airlifted to safety.

For more on this, see the BBC News website.

On Sunday six hikers were injured, one seriously, after a rockfall in Switzerland.

It happened on the bank of a lake – Gelmersee near Guttannen in the Bern region.

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