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Three Spanish tourists die in Swiss canyoning accident

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Three Spanish tourists have been declared dead while the last person has not been found after canyoning in a river went wrong.

The incident happened in river gorge in northern Switzerland.

The four yet to be identified men, went missing in the Parlitobel Gorge in the canton of St. Gallen just before 17.00 on Wednesday.

The accident brought back memories of a tragedy which happened two decades ago in the Swiss mountains that killed 21 people.

The Spanish tourists were reported missing after a violent thunderstorm.

Police did not say where in Spain they were from. Three were found that night while the other is still missing.

“They were together on a canyoning tour in the Parlitobel gorge and were probably surprised by the storm,” St. Gallen police said.

Police said the four men went canyoning without a guide. A rescue effort was launched but it was restricted on Wednesday before it was resumed on Thursday morning because of the weather condition.

Canyoning is travelling through canyons and gorges by a variety of techniques — walking, climbing, jumping, abseiling and swimming.

The area where the Spaniards were canyoning is well-known; the local region’s tourist web site advertises it, describing “multiple worthwhile canyoning tours.”

The activity is popular in Switzerland, but carries risks, particularly in the Alps where the weather can turn quickly and fill narrow gorges with torrents of water.

In July 1999, 21 people, most of them Australians, were killed during a guided canyoning tour in the Bernese Oberland when they were swept up after sudden rain that rushed into the gorge they were exploring.

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