A tragic accident occurred Friday in the Alpes in southern Switzerland. Two climbers, a 40-year-old French woman and a 65-year-old Spanish man, were killed Friday and nine others injured by falling blocks of ice formed in the crevasses (so called „seracs”) in the Grand-Combin massif, in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route. Police in Valais canton (state) were alerted shortly after 6 a.m. Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts on board flew to the scene.The injured were taken to hospitals in Sion and Lausanne. Two of them were seriously hurt.Seventeen climbers, in different groups, were in the area at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,150 feet). Some climbers were evacuated by helicopter. The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation to determine the circumstances.
The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 meter. Outdoor rock climbing has become popular in recent years. But climbing accidents occurs. As an example, period April 2012–December 2018, 78 patients were treated after an accident related to outdoor climbing, at the ED of University Hospital Bern. Falls were the most common mechanism of injury (64%), followed by rock or ice falling on the climber (21%).