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Swiss prosecutors intend to ban off-piste skiing

Swiss prosecutors intend to ban off-piste skiing
Swiss prosecutors intend to ban off-piste skiing

After the investigation of the causes of an avalanche that occurred on December 27, 2009 at the famous Swiss ski resort of Anzer, which is located in the heart of the Valais, the experts suggested that it might be caused by three skiers who were riding above the marked tracks.

As a result of the disaster was held a large-scale rescue operation involving 130 people, 8 specially trained dogs and 3 helicopters. Currently, Swiss prosecutor's office is considering a ban on off-piste skiing and in the immediate vicinity of it.

The trio of skiers was charged with endangering the safety of skiers because of criminal negligence in accordance with article 237, paragraph 2, Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure.

The accused were skiing in an area that lies over the Rousses track, and according to the experts by their unreasonable actions they provoked an avalanche with total area of 80000 square meters.

As a result track located below was completely covered with snow blockage, which buried a teenage girl and injured several other skiers. Fortunately, the girl was freed alive from the dam, but she got a serious back injury.

Involuntarily offenders, who were doctors by profession, gave first aid to the injured and left the scene of disaster before the arrival of rescuers. Subsequently, they were identified by the police, what, incidentally, was for the first time. Previously, the perpetrators of such incidents remained unpunished.

Currently, the skiers may face up to three years of imprisonment and a fine. They also have to reimburse the costs of rescue operations, which according to preliminary estimates can range from 50 to 100 thousand Swiss francs.

According to the director of Tele Anzère, the company operating infrastructure of the resort, the insurers had already paid for the damage caused by the avalanche, and intended to recover these costs from the perpetrators in court.

However, defense lawyers say that this case is not so obvious and to it is very difficult to prove that the cause of the snow dam was a criminal negligence of the accused. Despite the fact that on the day of the accident risk of avalanche was estimated to be moderate, the slope above the track was well rolled and even used by several local instructors to practice technique.

Swiss security expert Robert Bolognesi told the that if the skiers will be punished, skiing outside the marked tracks and especially over them will actually be banned. In any case, the threat of a three-year imprisonment and heavy fines should cool the hot heads.

Date: 14/11/2010

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