Five missing skiers found dead

Henry

Five of the six skiers who went missing in the Swiss Alps at the weekend have been found dead.

The search is still on for the sixth skier. The group of skiers, aged between 21 and 58, left the luxury ski resort of Zermatt on Saturday with the intention of reaching the small town of Arolla later that day, but never arrived there. The group includes five members of the same family.

The weather conditions were “catastrophic” with freezing temperatures and a significant risk of avalanches, Valais police chief Christian Varone said.

A person who was to pick up the group in Arolla raised the alarm shortly after 16:00 on Saturday. An hour later, a member of the missing group managed to reach the rescue services by mobile phone, enabling them to determine where to look for the skiers.

Varone said that rescue workers were doing everything possible to reach the group in time, but that the terrible weather conditions prevented helicopters and rescue teams from reaching the area.

“We tried the impossible,” he said, adding that the rescuers were forced to turn around to avoid putting their lives at risk. “Sometimes you have to bow to nature.”

A team consisting of two rescue workers, a doctor and a mountain police officer, was finally able to be dropped off with a helicopter in the area where the skiers went missing on Sunday and the bodies were found.

The police have not yet released the identity of the deceased, saying only that the five family members are from Valais and the sixth person is from Fribourg.