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January 1, Avalanche Hits Resort, US Teen Among Victims



An avalanche at a Swiss Alps ski resort tragically claimed the lives of a 15-year-old American teenager and two other unidentified individuals, local authorities reported.

The incident occurred on the Riffelberg ski slopes at Zermatt ski resort shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. Valais Cantonal Police stated that emergency response teams were deployed and recovered four individuals, with three having already died.

Search operations for other potential survivors have been halted. The fourth skier, who suffered serious injuries, was transported to a nearby hospital.

Authorities reported, “The deceased are a 15-year-old American, a man and a woman, whose identification has not yet been completed. In the case of the female victim, we do not yet have any clues as to the identity.”

This winter season, 14 people have died in avalanches in the Swiss Alps, mostly due to backcountry skiing. The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research noted that this number is “slightly below the long-term average of 17 for the same period.”

In the United States, avalanches kill approximately 28 people annually, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Victims often die from suffocation, trauma, or hypothermia.

A deadly avalanche at Palisades Tahoe on January 10th resulted in one death and one injury. The popular resort closed both sides of its mountain for the day following the incident.

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