Fatal Avalanche in Swiss Resort on its Last Weekend of the Season
1st May 2023
Two skiers were hit by a wet snow avalanche in Samnaun. People still skiing are being urged to be cautious with ‘considerable’ avalanche risk in places as the snow melts and becomes unstable. NEW
The Swiss resort is in the canton of Graubunden and is linked to Ischgl in Austria.
It was holding its last weekend of the season.
The accident happened on Saturday shortly before 1.00 pm.
Two skies were on a path usually used by snow groomers, just above the main ski path, when a wet snow avalanche released above them.
“Although the two skiers noticed the avalanche and tried to avoid the avalanche, they were caught and dragged about 40m down the valley,” said the local police in a statement.
One of the women was partially buried while the other was completely buried.
The partially buried person was quickly rescued by rescue workers and flown to the Zams hospital.
The completely buried woman, who was 53-years old, could only be located a little later by a search dog and she was rescued by the emergency services.
She was flown to the St. Gallen hospital under resuscitation, where she was pronounced dead.
They were at an altitude of 2,230m on a north-east facing slope.
An investigation is under way.
The Swiss Institute for Avalanche Research, SLF, says there was a Level 3 warning in place – meaning there was a ‘considerable’ risk.
The same level remains in place across much of Switzerland with the Institute saying “considerable avalanche danger will be encountered over a wide area”.
Wet avalanches are common at this time of year as warmer temperatures turns the snow into water, this increasing instability.
They then trigger themselves naturally.
There has also been fresh snow in some parts of the Alps with resorts in the Haute-Savoie, Hautes Alpes and Isere areas of France being warned of “significant precipitation”.
17 people have died in avalanches in Switzerland alone this winter with 1 person still missing.
- Less snow in Switzerland but same number of avalanche deaths
- Investigation underway after 6 die in avalanche near Mont Blanc