13000 tourists stranded in Swiss resort town due to avalanche risk

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

The avalanche risk has been raised to the maximum level of five on the avalanche warning scale, the highest it's been for almost 10 years.

The Zermatt police department official said the air bridge would be provided to tourists requesting an exit by the 3-minute helicopter flight from the town at the foot of the Alpine peak down to the nearby village of Taesch.

Zermatt spokeswoman Janine Imesch said there was no immediate risk to the thousands of tourists who remained in the resort, and has praised their optimism during the ordeal. Helicopter teams were also deploying to trigger controlled avalanches to release snow build-up after more than 1 meter of snow fell in some parts of the region in 24 hours.

About 13,000 tourists are trapped at a ski resort with sporadic power outages near the Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland, after the avalanche risk was raised to its highest level.

Hundreds of tourists have been airlifted from the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt, which is one of several resorts in the Alps to have been closed due to heavy snowfall over the past few days. Imesch says Tuesday "there is nothing to panic about, everything is fine". None of the 29 people staying in the resort were injured. "People are enjoying the snow, going shopping, eating and drinking".

The Zermatt tourism office initially said a rail line from the town was due to partially reopen Wednesday.

Around 100 people at the resort's converted Olympic village complex, which housed athletes during the 2006 Turin Games, were also evacuated over fears the weight of snow could cause the roof to collapse. The man was on a family holiday when he went missing on Sunday afternoon, a spokesman for Tignes gendarmerie said.

French forecasters labelled recent falls as the worst in 30 years with up to 6ft of snow being dumped in 36 hours in parts of Savoie.

Other reports by iNewsToday