body found and two people still missing, police say

The hamlet of Sorte, in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, after heavy downpours caused flooding and landslides on June 23, 2024. PIERO CRUCIATTI / AFP

The body of one of the people missing after torrential floods in northeastern Switzerland was found on Sunday June 23, police announced, while operations continue to find two other people.

Thunderstorms and very heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides on Friday evening in the Mesolcina valley, an Italian-speaking mountain region in the canton of Graubünden. The village of Sorte was particularly affected, with several houses and vehicles swept away, leaving a devastated landscape.

“Not long ago we found a body”, declared the head of operations, William Kloter, of the cantonal police of Graubünden, during a press conference held in a neighboring village. It is a man, he said, indicating that the body had been carried by water for more than eight kilometers. One of the four missing people was found alive, but injured, in rock slides on Saturday morning and transported to Lugano hospital.

Several roads cut

After being interrupted overnight, search operations resumed on Sunday, in the hope of finding the two other people still missing. But as time passes, “the probability of finding them alive is low”admitted Mr. Kloter.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who is Italian-speaking, also participated in the press conference. “Today is a sad day (…) and it is for this reason that I am here to bring the solidarity of the Federal Council [gouvernement] in this difficult moment »he said. “I think especially of those who are waiting for news” people who are still missing, he added.

Due to this bad weather, several roads and a section of highway are cut. The minister assured that the authorities were doing what was necessary to “restore north-south traffic as quickly as possible” because these roads “are particularly popular in summer” by vacationers.

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