GENEVA: Four people were feared dead Saturday after an avalanche hit the Swiss ski area of Vallon d’Arbi, with two bodies already recovered buried under six metres (20 feet) of snow.
Police in Valais canton said rescue workers were still searching for two more skiers who are missing after Friday’s avalanche, but that the operation had been suspended for the night.
Those found dead are both French nationals aged, 20 and 25, the police statement said.
“The bodies were found underneath some six metres of snow“, it added.
A 32-year-old French citizen and a Swiss national, 57, had not yet been found.
Police said rescue teams worked until 3:30 am on Saturday, then paused until 9:00 am before resuming work.
They battled difficult conditions including continuous snow on Saturday before breaking for the night.
A Valais police spokesperson told Swiss public broadcaster RTS that it was unlikely that anyone would still be found alive.
According to RTS, the avalanche happened at an altitude of 2,200 metres.
Vallon d’Arbi is a route best suited to skilled skiers, which is sporadically closed for safety reasons. Tourism sites recommend visitors ski with a guide.
Police said the route was open at the time of Friday’s avalanche.
The accident is the latest in a series of fatal incidents affecting skiers in Switzerland this season, with a series of avalanches killing three in the Swiss Alps last month. --AFP