Home / World News / Helicopters fly stranded tourists out of Zermatt as rail line set to reopen

Helicopters fly stranded tourists out of Zermatt as rail line set to reopen

Helicopters are flying stranded tourists out of upmarket ski resort Zermatt and the train line could soon reopen after the town was deluged by at least a metre of snow in 24 hours.

With an extreme risk of avalanches, chopper teams have also been setting explosive charges to help release the unstable snow.

An estimated 300 to 400 people were flown out of the Swiss resort on Tuesday and the flights resumed again today.

Thirteen thousand people have been stuck in Zermatt – which sits a the foot of the iconic Matterhorn peak – for two days with roads and rail shut off.

In France, the search for a 39-year-old British skier who went missing in “terrible weather” on Sunday is continuing.

Helicpoters have also been flying in fresh linen for hotels
Image:
Helicpoters have also been flying in fresh linen for hotels
British skier John Bromell has been missing since Sunday
Image:
Briton John Bromell, 39, has been missing since Sunday

The reopening of Zermatt’s rail line on Wednesday morning was delayed after pilots spotted a new snow mass left by an avalanche, but officials say they are “confident to open the railway in the afternoon”.

Clearing the line is vital, as it allows people to reach the nearby village of Tasch from where they can get buses to the airports.

Zermatt's blocked train line is expected to reopen on Wednesday afternoon
Image:
Zermatt’s blocked train line is expected to reopen on Wednesday afternoon

preview image

Video:
Trapped in the Alps amid snowstorm

“The persons in charge are working with high pressure,” a statement on Zermatt’s website said on Tuesday, as tourists – many who should have been back at work – settled in for another night.

Despite the massive amounts of snow, holidaymakers have not been able to get out onto the peaks because the avalanches risk is at its maximum.

An “extraordinary” three to four meters of snow has been dumped on Zermatt already this year, said Frank Techel from the Swiss avalanche institute SLF.

Officials said the situation is calm in the town and that no lives are in danger.

Zermatt is near the iconic Matterhorn. File pic
Image:
Zermatt is near the iconic Matterhorn. File pic

But heavy snow has hit across the region, and rescuers are still searching for Briton John Bromell, who went missing in the French resort of Tignes on Sunday.

The 39-year-old from Lincolnshire disappeared in bad weather and was last seen on the Paquis chairlift at 4.30pm.

Police said he was wearing a multi-coloured hat with a pompom and a checked jacket.

The hunt for Mr Bromell was initially hampered by the conditions but now a helicopter has joined the search.

Elsewhere, a skier was killed after avalanches in Aranouet in the French Pyenees, while an avalanche hit a five-storey building in Sestriere in Italy after two metres of snow fell there in 48 hours.

Broken branches and snow smashed their way into corridors and some apartments but the 29 people staying there escaped unharmed through the garage.

About 100 people in the town’s Olympic village complex were also evacuated over fears the roof could collapse because of the weight of snow.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Star Fremantle defender Joel Hamling to return to Dockers training next week after ankle injury ruined 2020

Fremantle defender Joel Hamling will be back at training next week after missing the entire …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: