03. March 2024

Air Zermatt deployed for three avalanches

The fresh snow of the last few days was not without consequences. Within a short space of time on Saturday, Air Zermatt was called out to a total of three avalanche missions. Five helicopters were in action at the same time.

On Saturday morning, shortly before midday, Air Zermatt was alerted that a person had been buried by an avalanche outside the marked piste in the Hohtälli area near Zermatt. An Air Zermatt crew immediately travelled to the avalanche cone with a rescue specialist. By the time they arrived, however, colleagues had already successfully rescued the buried person from the masses of snow. The rescued person was buried around 1.20 metres under the snow, but was flown unharmed to the Air Zermatt base in Zermatt.

Immediately after this mission, Air Zermatt received another alert that two people had been caught in an avalanche outside the Saas-Fee ski area. Air Zermatt immediately flew several rescue specialists and avalanche dog handlers to the scene. They searched the avalanche area with the help of avalanche dogs, the Recco system and avalanche transceivers. Fortunately, it turned out that no one had been buried by the avalanche after all.

Immediately afterwards, another avalanche broke loose near Saas-Grund, with a buried person. Air Zermatt immediately flew two rescue specialists, who were already on duty in Saas-Fee, to the avalanche site in Saas-Grund. Another rescue specialist from the Saas Valley was also called in.

Second highest risk level

The Avalanche Institute has warned of a high avalanche risk in the Goms and Simplon region. This corresponds to the second-highest danger level, which is only forecast on a few days in winter. According to the avalanche warning service, there is a likelihood of spontaneous and often very large avalanches at this level. Avalanches can also be easily triggered on many steep slopes. There is considerable avalanche danger in the rest of Valais. 

In addition, heavy snowfall is forecast in parts of Valais in the coming hours, which may further increase the danger level.


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