A six-year-old Spanish boy has died after being buried in an avalanche in south-eastern Switzerland on Wednesday.
The boy was with a skiing instructor on a marked track at an altitude of 2,900 metres in Saas/Fees when a large mass of snow came tumbling down the mountainside.
It took rescuers 45 minutes to locate the boy, who became trapped under a mound of snow 100 metres wide and 300 metres long.
Bad weather conditions prevented helicopters from aiding in the rescue. The child was first taken to hospital in Viège, then transported by helicopter to the University Hospital of Vaud, in Lausanne. He died hours later despite efforts to save his life.
The boy's instructor survived the first avalanche of the year in the Swiss Alps. She was only partially covered by the snow slide and was found shortly after the accident in good health.
According to early investigations, the avalanche started spontaneously without anything or anyone triggering it.
Weather service Meteorisk warns that strong winds have formed unstable accumulations of snow, increasing the risk of avalanches.