Alps deaths: Four skiers die and five critical after night outside

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Police said the skiers were stuck outside overnight in the Pigne d'Arolla area Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police said the skiers were stuck outside overnight in the Pigne d’Arolla area

Four skiers have died in the Swiss Alps and another five are in a serious condition after bad weather forced them to spend Sunday night outdoors, police said.

The alarm was raised when the skiers failed to arrive at a mountaintop cabin more than 3,000m (9,850ft) above sea level.

Police said one was killed in a fall while three others died of hypothermia.

The dead were from France, Italy and Germany.

Local police said in a statement that 14 people had been “trapped by bad weather [and] forced to spend the night outside in the Pigne d’Arolla area”.

The group set out from the Dix rest-stop along a route known as the Serpentine. aiming to arrive at Vignettes later that night.

The manager of a cabin in Vignettes sent out a distress call early on Monday morning after they failed to arrive, and seven helicopters were dispatched as part of a search operation.

The incident follows the death last month of three Spanish cross-country skiers who were engulfed by an avalanche in the Fiescheralp area of the Swiss Alps.

On 2 April, an avalanche in the French Alps killed mountain guide and doctor Emmanuel Cauchy.

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