British woman killed on Swiss Alpine adventure path

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British woman has been killed in the Swiss Alps after she smashed into a rock face during an uncontrolled slide down a cable across a mountain gorge, police in southern Switzerland said on Monday.

The 21-year-old was among a party of seven students in the Gorge Alpine who set out alone on the canyoning path near the mountain resort of Saas-Fee on Sunday.

Police in canton Valais said in a statement that she failed to secure herself fully to the cable, known as a zip wire, and was unable to brake at the end.

"For the zip wire there's a special equipment with wheels equipped with a brake," police spokesman Vincent Favre told AFP.

"For an unknown reason, the young woman decided not to use this equipment. She died instantly," he added.

Police said she had only used two carabiners despite the qualms of her friends.

The regional magistrate's office in Valais has opened an investigation into the accident.

"The inquiry must establish whether it was compulsory to have a guide," Favre said.

On its website, Saas Fee guides mountaineering office describes the Gorge Alpine course as "technically easy," with minimum gradients and "no prior knowledge required," and offers a guided trip.

Tourists follow the river gorge from Saas-Fee to Saas-Grund along a network of steel ropes, hanging bridges and ladders, as well as at least three zip wire, staying attached to a safety cable along the course.

The group were tackling the third zip wire when the accident happened, police said.

At least two other people were killed in mountaineering accidents in the Valais region over the weekend.

© 2010 AFP

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