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Death toll up to 8 after Swiss Alps storm: Police

Agency Press France

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GENEVA — A sixth person has died after a group of 14 skiers were caught up in a storm, police said Tuesday, after the bodies of two climbers were also found elsewhere in the Swiss Alps.

“Late Tuesday morning, a sixth person died. The deceased was a 52-year-old Bulgarian woman,” police in Valais canton said in a statement.

Bad weather in the Pigne d’Arolla area of the Swiss Alps on Sunday had caught the group of skiers by surprise.

The group had set out from the Dix rest-stop and had intended to make it to Vignettes to sleep, trekking along a route called The Serpentine.

The manager of a rest-stop in the remote mountain region sent out a call for help at dawn on Monday, triggering a major relief operation that involved seven helicopters, police said.

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One person, a 59-year-old Italian national who was serving as a guide for the group, was found dead on the scene following a fall, police said.

Four other Italian nationals, two couples aged 45 and 53, died in hospital Monday.

Three more people, a 72-year-old Swiss man, a 56-year-old Frenchwoman and a 43-year-old Italian woman, remained in serious condition, police said, adding that one of the cases was considered life-threatening.

Others in the group were merely suffering from ‘mild hypothermia’. All the families had been informed of the tragedy, police said.

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Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely

Thompson Reuters

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COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.

U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.

The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.

“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.

 

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