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Tourists Evacuated from Zermatt after Extreme Avalanche Danger Leaves Thousands Stranded

12 January 2018, 09:11 | Devin Moran

Heavy snow leaves thousands of tourists stranded at Swiss ski resort

The snow has blocked all roads and the train leading to the resort in the southern Swiss canton of Valais which was also hit by some power outages head of the station Janine Imesch said

The heavy snowfall also caused power outages in some other areas of the southern Swiss canton of Valais, and a number of other villages were also cut off, with the Simplon region of Valais hit by two metres (6.6 feet) of snow over 24 hours, the ATS news agency reported.

"After nearly two days that Zermatt was cut off from the rest of the world, the destination is now reachable by train", it said in a statement.

Swiss state-backed broadcaster SRF showed images of several people wheeling their luggage out to three helicopters, with their blades whirring atop an icy plateau.

Zermatt spokeswoman Janine Imesch said there was no immediate risk to the thousands of tourists who remained in the resort, and has praised their optimism during the ordeal.

Local officials said no lives were ever in danger and the situation was calm, with cafes open and many streets walkable.

Meanwhile, Switzerland's avalanche institute, SLF, lowered the avalanche risk from the highest level of five to four yesterday.




Several other ski resorts across Switzerland, France and Italy are also closed due to the extreme avalanche risk caused by the the highest snowfall the Alps has experienced for nearly 10 years. "It's a bit romantic", Imesch said, adding, "there is no panic".

For most of the way the only way in or out was by helicopter airlift, with many tourists choosing to pay 70 Swiss francs (£50) for a seat on a flight. Swiss authorities have closed ski slopes, hiking trails, cable cars, roads and train service into the town of Zermatt amid a heightened risk of avalanches, stranding some 13,000 tourists in the town.

The iconic Matterhorn, as seen from outside Zermatt.

A British skier remains missing in the French Alps ski resort of Tignes in Savoie, which is under red alert for avalanches.

The Zermatt tourism office said Wednesday: "After being cut off for nearly two days, Zermatt can now be accessed by train again".



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