Snow avalanche deaths in Switzerland from 1995 to 2014—Results of a nation-wide linkage study

Autoři: Claudia Berlin aff001;  Frank Techel aff002;  Beat Kaspar Moor aff004;  Marcel Zwahlen aff001;  Rebecca Maria Hasler aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland aff001;  WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland aff002;  University of Zürich, Department of Geography, Zürich, Switzerland aff003;  Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Hôpital du Valais, Martigny, Switzerland aff004;  Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland aff005;  Department of Trauma, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article



More than 20 people die each year in snow avalanches in Switzerland. Previous studies have primarily described these victims, but were not population based. We investigated sociodemographic factors for avalanche mortality between 1995 and 2014 in the entire Swiss resident population.

Design and methods

Within the Swiss National Cohort we ascertained avalanche deaths by anonymous data linkage with the avalanche accident database at the Swiss WSL Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. We calculated incidence rates, by dividing the number of deaths from avalanches by the number of person-years, and hazard ratios (HRs) for sociodemographic and economic characteristics using Cox proportional hazard models.


The data linkage yielded 250 deaths from avalanche within the SNC population for the 20 years 1995 to 2014. The median distance between the place of residence and the place of the event (avalanche) was 61.1 km. Male gender, younger age (15–45 years), Swiss nationality, living in the Alpine regions, higher education, living in the highest socioeconomic quintile of neighbourhoods, being single, and living in a household with one or more children were associated with higher avalanche mortality rates. Furthermore, for younger persons (<40 years) the hazard of dying in an avalanche between 2005 and 2014 was significantly lower than in the years 1995 to 2004 (HR = 0.56, 95%-CI: 0.36–0.85).


Over a 20-year period in Switzerland, higher rates of dying in an avalanche were observed in men, in younger age groups, and persons with tertiary education, living in the highest socioeconomic quintile of neighbourhoods, and living in an Alpine region. For younger persons (<40 years), the hazard declined during the study period.

Klíčová slova:

Age groups – Census – Death rates – Children – Language – Regression analysis – Religion – Switzerland


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