Dogs' barking prompts owners' rescue from Swiss avalanche

Swiss air ambulance service Rega flew the couple to hospital after they were rescued by several snow-shoers. PHOTO: REGA/FACEBOOK

VIENNA (REUTERS) - Two people caught in an avalanche in Switzerland were rescued after their dogs barked for help, attracting the attention of nearby snow-shoers who were able to dig them out, air ambulance service Rega said on Sunday (Jan 31).

The avalanche swept the pair off a hiking trail in the Avers Valley of southwestern Switzerland, near the Italian border and west of St Moritz, shortly after 3pm (1400 GMT) on Saturday, Rega said in a statement.

"Their dogs, who were not buried by the masses of snow, drew attention to themselves by barking loudly," the statement said.

"The dogs attracted the attention of a group of snow-shoers who were some distance away in the same valley but had not witnessed the avalanche."

Roughly 15-20 minutes after the avalanche, the group was at the scene, where one of the avalanche victims' hands was visible; the other person was buried entirely, Rega said.

Both were dug out slightly injured and with mild hypothermia. Rega then flew them by helicopter to hospital.

Rega did not say how many dogs were involved or what breed they were.

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