GENEVA - The bodies of three skiers missing after an avalanche in central Switzerland were found yesterday, raising to seven the death toll in the country’s worst avalanche disaster in more than a decade, rescue officials said.
The bodies of a Swiss woman, a Swiss man, and a German man were found in the Diemtig Valley, 25 miles south of the capital, Bern, said Theo Maurer, chief instructor of the Swiss air rescue service Rega. No other people have been reported missing.
The victims were part of a group of backcountry skiers who were hit by an avalanche shortly before midday Sunday, burying two. A second avalanche about half an hour later hit the rescuers who arrived to help the skiers.
An emergency operation involving eight helicopters and 100 rescuers was able to pull nine people from the snow. One man was already dead. Three others died in the hospital of their injuries.
The earlier victims were identified as a German and three Swiss, one of whom was a rescue doctor who had flown in to help.
Rescuers were unable to search for the remaining skiers Monday because fog and snow prevented them from safely accessing the mountainous area.