Pieces of ice collapsed on the Grand Combin, 2 dead and 9 injured

The cantonal police reported the collapse of some seracs on the Swiss side of the Grand Combin, the mountain massif between the canton of Valais and the Aosta Valley.

The accident located at 3,400 meters above sea level, in the area called “Plateau du Déjeuner”, along the “Voie du Gardien” route, which took place at dawn, around 6:20 am, involved 17 mountaineers who, trying to reach the at the top, they were overwhelmed by some blocks of ice that had broken off from the Swiss side. Of these, 9 were transported and admitted to the hospital in Sion 2 of which are seriously injured.

The victims, on the other hand, are a 65-year-old Spanish and a forty-year-old French.According to the Municipality, the cause of the collapse of the seracs would hypothetically be due to the unusual spring temperatures. search for the others, some of whom had been buried in the snow.

To rescue them would have been seven helicopters from Air Glaciers and Air Zermatt in addition to the vehicles used by the OCV and the cantonal police, in addition, in addition to the team of doctors downstream, about forty technicians made available by the Valle d’Aosta Alpine Rescue participated in the rescue.

On the contrary, no support was requested from Switzerland, which is why the Public Prosecutor of Sion opened an investigation. Regarding the collapse of the seracs, the glaciologist of the Cnr Institute of Polar Sciences, Jacopo Gabrielli, states:“Given that I do not know the story in detail, the fall of a serac, an unstable block of ice, is rather unpredictable. Undoubtedly, climate change and global warming mean that seracs are increasingly unstable. And precisely because the dangers have become more frequent, many climbing routes are discarded”.

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Matteo Crescendo