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£57,000-a-year Swiss school says it is ‘deeply saddened’ after British student killed in avalanche

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Teachers at £57,000-a-year Swiss boarding school say they are ‘deeply saddened’ after British student, 18, was killed in avalanche during ski trip – as search continues for female US student buried alive

  • Seven students of Ecole d’Humanité were on ski tour when avalance struck
  • Two students equipped with avalanche safety equipment were buried 
  • Brit, 18, from top boarding school killed and a female US student is still missing 

Devastated teachers at a £57,000-a-year boarding school in Switzerland say they are ‘deeply saddened’ after an 18-year-old British student was killed and his US classmate went missing in an avalanche during a ski trip.

Seven students of the prestigious Swiss boarding school Ecole d’Humanité were on a ski tour when an avalanche struck on the Gstelliwang ski slope near Meiringen at 4.25pm on Tuesday, March 21.

The body of the male British student was found while a search continues for a female US student who was also buried under snow. Neither have been named by Swiss officials.

The school said in a statement that the ‘very experienced group’ had taken precautions for a ski tour, equipping students with avalanche transceivers, probes and shovels.

Search and rescue efforts began immediately, but ‘any help came too late’ for the 18-year-old Brit, the school said in a message to parents.  

Seven students of the prestigious Swiss boarding school Ecole d'Humanité were on a ski tour when an avalanche struck at the Gstelliwang near Meiringen at 4.25pm on Tuesday, March 21 (pictured: the search for the buried American student)

Seven students of the prestigious Swiss boarding school Ecole d’Humanité were on a ski tour when an avalanche struck at the Gstelliwang near Meiringen at 4.25pm on Tuesday, March 21 (pictured: the search for the buried American student)

The school said in a statement that the 'very experienced group' had taken the necessary precautions for a ski tour, like taking the avalanche bulletin into account and equipping the students with avalanche transceivers, probes and shovels

The school said in a statement that the ‘very experienced group’ had taken the necessary precautions for a ski tour, like taking the avalanche bulletin into account and equipping the students with avalanche transceivers, probes and shovels

The school statement about the tragedy read: ‘We regret this terrible accident and are deeply saddened. 

‘We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to all students, their families and relatives.’

The search for the second buried student, who Ecole d’Humanité said is a girl from the US, is still ongoing after it was interrupted around 7.30pm on Tuesday and only continued at light the next day. 

The 18-year-old Brit who died in the avalanche was originally from England but had been living in Bern, where he attended the £57,000-a-year international school.

The school in the town of Hasliberg is just a short distance away from the Gstelliwang ski slope on the Wellhorn mountain in the area of Meiringen, the next town over. 

The fatal avalanche struck at around 4.25pm. Mountain rescue teams and a helicopter were deployed to help survivors. 

The two students, who were on the ski tour with a mountain guide, a youth and sports leader as well as three other external individuals, were heading down the Gstelliwang slope as an avalanche struck and buried them both underneath, according to the cantonal police in Bern.

Swiss Alpine Rescue Rega crews, Swiss Alpine Rescue, several Rega, Air-Glaciers and Swiss Helicopter helicopters, mountain specialists and other employees of the Bern canton police and the Canton of Bern Care Team are currently searching for the second individual.

The school said there has been a care team available for those who need it since Tuesday evening. 

It added: ‘There are also people present for psychological care, including individual grief counseling. This comprehensive assistance will continue until students depart.’

The Gstelliwang slope where the avalanche struck is at the foot of the northwest face of the Wellhorn. 

It is assigned the height of nearly 2118 metres according to a Swiss topography map. 

In summer and winter, however, you can still climb almost 400 meters further up to the foot of the north-west face of the Wellhorn.

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