5 People Found Dead in Snow Cave After Going Missing on Ski Trip

A sixth hiker from the group is still missing, according to police

<p>Valais cantonal police via AP</p> Rescue mission at the Tete Blanche mountain in the Swiss Alps

Valais cantonal police via AP

Rescue mission at the Tete Blanche mountain in the Swiss Alps

Five people have been discovered dead after going missing in the Swiss Alps.

The victims were found by a rescue team at around 9:20 p.m. local time on Sunday following a search conducted on March 9 after the group failed to reach their hiking destination in Arolla, along the Swiss-Italian border, local police stated in a press release.

The hikers left Zermatt on Saturday morning. The group was reported missing later that afternoon by a relative after they didn’t show up in Arolla, near the Matterhorn, at their agreed meeting point.

A search was then carried out by police in consultation with the cantonal Valais emergency organization (OCVS) to find the hikers.

<p>VALAIS CANTONAL POLICE/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock</p> The victims went missing on march 9 after setting off on a hike in Zermatt


The victims went missing on march 9 after setting off on a hike in Zermatt

Related: Hiker, 29, Found Dead 3 Months After Going Missing While Camping in Switzerland

Police confirmed the hikers were from the Switzerland canton of Valais area and aged from 21 to 58 years old. A sixth hiker from the group remains missing as the search to find them continues.

According to authorities, one member of the group contacted the emergency services at 5:19 p.m. local time on Saturday, revealing the location of the call in the Col de Tête Blanche sector roughly 3,500 meters above sea level.

Stormy weather conditions however made the search for the missing hikers difficult.

<p>FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty</p> Canton of Valais officials hold a press conference


Canton of Valais officials hold a press conference

Related: Skier Rescued After 3 Days Trapped Inside Snowbound Hut: 'I Thought I Would Die'

“The storm raging in the south of the Alps and the danger of avalanches prevent helicopters and rescue columns from being able to approach the area,” police said. “... Around 6:20 p.m. [on Saturday], a relief column set off from Zermatt. She was forced to turn back to an altitude of 3,000 meters due to very bad weather conditions and the risks involved.”

The authorities added that “land actions were suspended”  until the next day “in agreement with the families.”

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Anjan Truffer, the head of Zermatt's air rescue service, told the BBC "flying is not an option" in the search due to the "very strong winds, heavy snow, high avalanche danger, and zero visibility."

He shared his theory with the outlet that the hikers most likely went missing as a result of the bad weather, not an avalanche, as the group was located in an area low-risk to avalanches.

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