Unusually heavy snowfall and a high risk of Alpine avalanches stranded some 13,000 tourists Tuesday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt at the base of the famed Matterhorn mountain.
With nearby roads, trains, cable cars, ski slopes and hiking trails into the town closed, Swiss authorities deployed helicopters to ferry some tourists to a nearby village to escape the snow-bound Alpine valley.
A police official in Zermatt, a tourist magnet for backpackers and millionaires alike, said the helicopter journey to the village of Taesch takes around three minutes.
Crazy ‘pee trick’ goes viral [sponsored]
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said the so-called air bridge can transport about 100 people an hour, conditions permitting.
Only tourists who requested the air bridge were being ferried out, the official said, insisting that it was not an official evacuation.