Family of skiers dug ‘snow cave’ in desperate attempt to stay alive before they 'froze to death’ in Swiss Alps

12 March 2024, 10:43 | Updated: 12 March 2024, 11:03

Footage shows the 'snow cave' dug by the family before their deaths.
Footage shows the 'snow cave' dug by the family before their deaths. Picture: Valais Police/Social media

By Jenny Medlicott

Footage captured from the Swiss Alps shows the ‘snow cave’ a family of skiers dug in an attempt to find refuge from extreme weather in the Swiss Alps.

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A group of six skiers, five of them from the same family, went missing on Saturday after leaving Zermatt on a ski tour towards Arolla.

The group had been missing for more than 24 hours when five of the six skiers were found at 9:20pm local time “without any signs of life”, Swiss Valais canton police said in a statement.

Valais Police search for missing hikers near Zermatt

Now footage captured from a helicopter in the Swiss Alps appears to show the ‘snow cave’ the group dug before their deaths, as the video shows tracks in the snow with a mound in the middle.

The group had tried to make the cave to shelter from the extreme weather but slipped into unconsciousness and died from the exposure, rescuers said.

Jean-Vincent Moix and his brother David are believed to have died near the Tete Blanche mountain on Saturday afternoon while on a family skiing trip.

Their cousin Marc Moix, also a captain with the local police force in Valais, was also killed in the storm, alongside one of their brothers and uncle, it is understood.

It is also thought law graduate and friend of David, Emilie Deschenaux, 28, was among the six who went missing.

A sixth person remains missing.

Jean-Vincent Moix
Jean-Vincent Moix. Picture: social media
David Moix
David Moix. Picture: social media

Tributes have been pouring in for the family members, including Jean-Vincent, who had worked on the local council.

Read More: Family of skiers found dead in Swiss Alps as urgent search and rescue underway for sixth person still missing

Read More: Family ‘beyond heartbroken’ after British mother and son killed in avalanche - as police hunt cross-country skiers

The Mayor of Vex, Sebastien Menoud, said: "It is such a huge tragedy to lose a colleague on the local council.'Our thoughts are with him, his family and those around him and we express our deepest condolences to them.

"One knows that it is an immeasurable pain that his family is now confronted with.

"We would like to take some of that pain away from them, even if we can't do too much and we know that we can't bring the deceased back.

"In the office at the town hall on Monday there were a lot of tears but there were also people who didn't know anything about the weekend's drama."

Search operations for the sixth person remain ongoing.
Search operations for the sixth person remain ongoing. Picture: Valais Police
The brothers died in a heavy snow storm, it is understood.
The brothers died in a heavy snow storm, it is understood. Picture: Getty

Another friend of the family posted on Facebook: "Why is it always the best ones leave first?'David (like his brothers) was the epitome of selflessness, always listening. David was very generous. Lowkey he never came forward and yet he could have.

"The mountains of his region, which he knew by heart and cherished so much, took him away.

"Last Sunday, he was still explaining how he was looking forward to travelling the world after passing his Bar degree with flying colours.

"From tonight on, he'll be watching this world from up there. Today I am at a loss for words to express the sorrow of this loss.

"David, your light will shine in our hearts forever. To all those affected by this tragedy, my deepest thoughts are with you.'Together, let's remember them for all the happiness they brought to our lives. May their souls rest in peace."