You shall not pass: This image shows the destruction caused by the landslide in Bondo village

You shall not pass: This image shows the destruction caused by the landslide in Bondo village
This is the moment when a huge landslide began in the Swiss mountains yesterday morning, hinting at the beginning of the devastation it would leave it its wake minutes later.

Footage shows a mass of rocks and dust come off a cliff side of the Piz Cengalo mountain, and start making its way down the valley towards the village of Bondo, near the Italian border, forcing evacuations and leaving several people feared dead.

Eight hikers, including German, Austrian and Swiss citizens, are still missing more than a day after disappearing from the mountainside, and some 200 people had to leave their homes in the eastern canton of the Grisons.

Police had initially announced that no one was hurt in the landslide, but on Thursday acknowledged that rescue workers were flying over the area in search of mountain climbers and hikers who might have been hit by the slide.

Six of the eight people known to have been in the area and who have not yet been located had been reported missing by their relatives, the police said, adding that the search for them had intensified overnight, with a Swiss army helicopter taking part.




'The missing persons are nationals from Germany, Austria and Switzerland,' the police said.

'There are often hikers in the affected area,' Graubunden police spokesman Markus Walser told the Blick daily, adding that the area did not have mobile phone reception.

'We hope this is the reason we have not been able to reach the people believed to be in the area,' he added.


Missing: Eight people are unaccounted for following yesterday's mudslide in Switzerland

Missing: Eight people are unaccounted for following yesterday's mudslide in Switzerland
Images showed an unstoppable mass of thick mud and sludge moving down the mountainside like lava, ripping apart at least one building in its path and partially engulfing others.

A broad swathe of farmland was covered in a grey, moving mass.

Police said 12 farm buildings, including barns and stables, had been destroyed by the flow of debris, while Graubunden's main southern highway, linking Stampa to Castasegna, was closed to traffic.

Devastation: An emergency worker watches the site of a massive landslide that hit the village Bondo in South Switzerland

Devastation: An emergency worker watches the site of a massive landslide that hit the village Bondo in South Switzerland

Police on Wednesday evacuated Bondo, and had also evacuated two Alpine cabins, pointing to the risk of further landslides.

Residents have not yet been permitted to return home. Authorities said they would reevaluate the situation Thursday afternoon.

Big clean up: The main road between Stampa and Castasegna is disconnected and the village has been evacuated

Big clean up: The main road between Stampa and Castasegna is disconnected and the village has been evacuated
Blocked: It is not known when the local residents can return to the village or how long the cleanup will take

Blocked: It is not known when the local residents can return to the village or how long the cleanup will take