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HOPES FADE FOR MISSING SKIERS
Friday March 16, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

A further two people remain missing in Verbier after an avalanche on Friday. PlanetSKI has pictures & video of the immediate aftermath. UPDATED

 

 

 

 

Two bodies have so far been recovered and the search continues for the other two people that are missing.

On Saturday rescue attempts concentrated at ground level as conditions were too inclement to fly helicopters.

The cantonal police confirmed, those found dead are two French nationals aged 20 and 25.

The two bodies were burried under some 6 metres of snow.

The research was suspended at the end of the day on Saturday.

Two people are still missing, including a 32-year-old French citizen and a 57-year-old Swiss national from Vaud.

Any chances of finding them alive have faded and it is now seen as an attempt to recover the bodies.

Rescue dogs and probe searches have been continuing but to no avail.

It may be that the bodies will be given up once the snow melts in the spring.

The avalanche struck on Friday at around 14:50 in the Vallon d'Arbi area.

It is an itninerary run and prone to avalanche on its south side.

Seven people were involved at the time, one was able to escape the avalanche in time, two were extracted and four were swept away.

Ruaridh Arrow was at the avalanche scene on Friday moments after it took place, he captured the footage below and has sent it to us here at PlanetSKI.

He commented on social media, "This was the scene moments after the Vallon D’arbi avalanche that has left 2 dead and 2 still missing near #Verbier. Impressive work by rescue workers to find anyone in such a huge debris field."

The photos below were taken on Friday shortly after the search began.

They give perspective to the size of the slide.

Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (phot: copyright R Arrow)Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (photo: copyright R Arrow)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (phot: copyright R Arrow)Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (photo: copyright R Arrow)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (phot: copyright R Arrow)Vallon d'Arbi avalanche (photo: copyright R Arrow)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi -  17 March 2018 (photo: Police Cantonal) Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi - 17 March 2018 (photo: Police Cantonal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEARCH UPDATE SATURDAY 10.15AM

The search for the 4 missing persons continued into the night, but was called off at 3.30am due to poor visibility and bad weather conditions.

One body has been recovered, but no additional information or identification has been given.

The cantonal police stated at its 10.15 morning briefing that three remain missing, two are French nationals and the third is from the neighbouring Vaud region.

The search resumed at 9am on Saturday in difficult conditions.

The police said the Vallon d'Arbi marked ski route was open at the time of the accident.

This route is located on the left flank of the valley, but the avalanche was triggered on the right slope of the Vallon d'Arbi.

The avalanche did not reach the main marked route.

Avalanche rescue Vallon d'Arbi - cantonal policeAvalanche rescue Vallon d'Arbi - cantonal police

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before 3pm on Friday afternoon the alarm was raised.

A large avalanche in the Vallon d'Arbi area of Verbier.

Search parties were deployed including Air-Glaciers, Air-Zermatt, regional rescue, search and rescue dogs and local cantonal police.

According to the cantonal police, skiers descended into the valley when a large avalanche was triggered from the slope on their right.

Several people were swept away.

"Seven people divided into two groups of four and three people were in the area," says Stève Léger, a spokesman for the cantonal police.

One person was able to escape the avalanche, two were been extracted from the deep snow mass, while 4 were missing.

It was a large avalanche - 400m in length with a cone width of approximately 150m.

"There is at least six meters of snow at the bottom of the avalanche, and search will continue tonight," said Paul-Victor Amaudruz, Head of Track Safety at Téléverbier.

The avalanche risk at the time was Level 3: 'considerable'.

Avalanche risk in SwitzerlandAvalanche risk in Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vallon d'Arbi is a busy and easily accessible off-piste route from Lac des Vaux on the Verbier slopes.

It is a popular off-piste itinerary run.

It is reported that none of the group was equipped with avalanche transceivers.

The avalanche occurred at 2,200 meters above sea level, the base of the avalanche is at 1,900 meters above sea level.

We will provide updates as soon as we get more information.

Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi - 16 March 2018Avalanche Vallon d'Arbi - 16 March 2018 (photo: Cantonale Police)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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