American skier rescued in Swiss Alps after 48 hours

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 04, 2015 7:02 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - A 19-year-old American skier survived 48 hours half-buried in snow in the Swiss Alps before being rescued and taken to hospital where he is recovering, police said on Wednesday.

The man, a student in Lausanne, disappeared while skiing in the Les Diablerets resort on Sunday, but was only reported missing on Tuesday, Vaud cantonal police said in a statement.

Rescue workers and a helicopter found him that afternoon, conscious but in a state of hypothermia and exhaustion and "stuck up to the waist in thick snow" in freezing temperatures, it said.

He had no mobile phone, shovel or detection device despite the currently high risk of avalanches in the region, according to the police.

The skier told rescuers that his binding, which fastens the boot to the ski, had broken and he fell into a stream while trying to ski down off-piste to the resort. He was flown to a hospital in the capital Berne where he is being treated. "His life is not in danger," police said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)