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Avalanches leave four dead in Swiss Alps

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Avalanches occurred Sunday in the Diemtigen Valley, 34 miles (55 km) south of Bern
  • In first incident an avalanche buried one person who was with a party of eight cross-country skiers
  • Second avalanche hit as rescuers searched for victims, burying 10 to 12 of them
RELATED TOPICS
  • Switzerland
  • Swiss Alps

(CNN) -- Four people died and another three were missing Monday after two avalanches in the Swiss Alps, Bern police said.

The avalanches occurred at 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. ET) and about noon Sunday in the Diemtigen Valley, 34 miles (55 km) south of Bern, said Thomas Jauch, a spokesman for police in Bern County.

In the first incident an avalanche buried one person who was with a party of eight cross-country skiers, Jauch said.

A nearby party of 25 skiers joined in the search and a physician, who was a member of a ski rescue team, was dropped into the area by one of two helicopters called in to help. As they were searching for the missing skier, a second avalanche buried 10 to 12 of them, Jauch said.

Nine were found alive, one was dead, he said. Three of the survivors died later in hospital, he added.

The doctor was among the dead, he said. It was not clear whether the original skier who was buried was among the survivors.

"It was not a high-risk day; not a high-risk situation," Jauch said.

Search efforts were suspended Monday because of the weather in the mountains. "There could be another avalanche," the police spokesman said.

 
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