Latest: Evacuation of 13,000 tourists in Matterhorn ski resort amid avalanche risk

Latest: Evacuation of 13,000 tourists in Matterhorn ski resort amid avalanche risk
Tourists wait in line at the heliport of Air Zermatt for a flight by airlift into the valley to Raron, in Zermatt. Pic: Dominic Steinmann/Keystone via AP

Update 3.20pm: Authorities in Zermatt have begun an "air bridge" by helicopter to take tourists down to the village of Taesch.

An official said about 100 people could be evacuated per hour, conditions permitting.

Earlier: Swiss authorities near the famed Matterhorn peak have closed ski slopes, hiking trails, cable cars, roads and train services into Zermatt amid a heightened risk of avalanches, stranding 13,000 tourists in the town.

Janine Imesch of the Zermatt tourism office said power has been restored in the town and no people were at risk because authorities blocked access to the nearby ski slopes and hiking trails a day earlier.

A man removes snow from his car at the Sestriere skiing resort, in the Italian Alps. Pic: Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP
A man removes snow from his car at the Sestriere skiing resort, in the Italian Alps. Pic: Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP

Ms Imesch added: "There is nothing to panic about, everything is fine."

The office’s website earlier indicated that arrivals and departures from the town were not possible.

It noted a "power breakdown all over Zermatt" and called on people to "stay at home" so as not to disrupt snow-clearing crews.

More to follow.

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