Heavy snowfall strands 13,000 tourists in Swiss Alps

Helicopters spent two hours airlifting some of those stranded to nearby villages, while others remained stuck in the resort for a second day running after snow blocked road and rail links. In the Pyrenees, a skier was killed and another injured after avalanches in Aragnouet on the slopes of Pique Poque mountain, according to local police. In the French Alps, a slight break in the weather meant rescuers could begin looking for a British skier who went missing on Sunday in the resort of Tignes, police said. “The persons in charge are working with high pressure,” a statement said on Zermatt’s official website as tourists and locals bedded in for another night in the resort. But an avalanche risk at its highest level means the stranded tourists will not be able to take advantage of the abundant snow for the time being. “It is not possible to do downhill or cross country (skiing), but that’s ok. It’s a bit romantic,” resort spokesperson Janine Imesch told AFP, adding that “there is no panic.” The heavy snowfall also caused power outages in some other areas of the southern Swiss canton of Valais, and a number of other villages were also cut off, with the Simplon region of Valais hit by two metres (6.6 feet) of snow over 24 hours, the ATS news agency reported. Mud and rockslides, as well as flooding, closed a number of roads across Valais. At lower altitudes, heavy rains forced the evacuation of around 20 people from Eyholz… [Read full story]

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