Two CERN employees killed in Swiss avalanche: police

13th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Frenchman working at Europe's particle accelerator lab CERN and a Swiss colleague have died after being hit by an Alpine avalanche at the weekend, police said on Monday.

The 49-year-old Frenchman and his 33-year-old Swiss colleague were swept away at the Pointes de Tsavolire in the southern Swiss Alps, police said.

The Frenchman worked in the engineering department while the other man worked with laserbeams at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) -- the world's biggest particle smasher famous for identifying the so-called "God particle".

The two men were members of CERN's ski club and were among five skiers who set off cross country Sunday from the village of Eison for the picturesque Pointes de Tsavolire area, with peaks over 3,000 metres (9,900 feet).

When they reached the north face late Sunday morning, an avalanche suddenly swept away four of them.

The fifth person managed to quickly dig out two colleagues, who were only slightly injured, but the other two remained buried until rescue workers arrived at the scene.

They were finally extracted from under up to three metres (10 feet) of snow, police spokesman Jean-Marie Bornet told AFP.

They were taken by helicopter to hospitals in Sion and Lausanne, where they later died.

© 2015 AFP

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