SHARE
COPY LINK

POLICE

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains
The Grand Combin massif mountain near Verbier, Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

POLICE

Police raid French rugby World Cup HQ

Organisers of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France said police raided their offices on Wednesday as prosecutors announced they had opened an inquiry into the management of the competition.

Police raid French rugby World Cup HQ

The national financial crimes prosecutor’s office announced they were investigating possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling under the former chief executive of the organising committee, Claude Atcher, who was sacked last month.

France is hosting the men’s rugby World Cup in 2023 – matches take place in nine venues across the country from September 8th. 

Atcher was sacked last month after an internal investigation reported “alarming managerial practices” amid allegations of bullying and harassment from staff.

The national financial crimes prosecutor’s office confirmed on Wednesday for the first time that it had opened an investigation into possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling.

The probe followed a referral from auditors at the finance and sports ministries, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement that confirmed raids were underway at different locations.

France’s L’Equipe newspaper said investigators were looking into the misuse of personal expenses, “certain contracts in the past and also alleged irregularities linked to the ticketing system for the 2023 World Cup.”

Atcher’s deputy Julien Collette took over from him as chief executive.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 8th next year with hosts France playing New Zealand at the Stade de France. The final is scheduled for Saturday, October 28th.

The dysfunctions in the World Cup organising committee are an unwelcome embarrassment for France as it prepares to host the Olympics in 2024.

SHOW COMMENTS