Published April 01, 2011
GENEVA – Three German skiers were killed by a massive avalanche in southern Switzerland on Friday, the second deadly incident involving foreign tourists in less than a week.
The victims were part of a nine-strong group of cross-country skiers from Friedrichshafen, Germany, said Valais cantonal (state) police.
They was traversing a mountain in the Anniviers valley near the border with Italy when the avalanche hit them, sweeping seven of the skiers away, police said.
"The avalanche was classified as 'gigantic' by rescuers," according to police, who said it was 500 meters (1,640 feet) wide and 500 meters long.
Two of the skiers were killed on the spot and one died later in a hospital. Another was injured, police said.
The incident happened close to where five French snowshoers and cross-country skiers were killed in an avalanche last Saturday.
Switzerland's national avalanche monitoring center warned of considerable risk in the region Friday.
Warmer weather means avalanches are common in the Alps in spring.