The avalanche broke below a lift on the Riffelberg.
The avalanche broke below a lift on the Riffelberg.
Three people have been killed and another person injured in an avalanche at Riffelberg, near the Swiss Alpine ski resort of Zermatt.

Footage on social media showed a wall of snow crossing an off-piste sector of the Riffelberg sector of Zermatt, one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the Alps.

Authorities launched a major rescue operation despite bad weather but it was later suspended.

Heavy snowfall and very strong winds had prompted authorities to warn of a major avalanche risk in the southern Swiss Alps.

The risk was considered especially high in the Grisons and Valais cantons, both popular ski destinations.

"Very large, and in some cases extremely large, spontaneous avalanches are to be expected," the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) said.

Valais canton police confirmed on social media platform X the avalanche on Monday killed three people and injured one.

Before then, 14 people had died in 12 avalanches and accidents in Switzerland so far this season, the SLF said.

Most of the victims have been cross-country skiers.

AFP/ Reuters