At least three killed as landslide hits Swiss mountain village

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The Independent Online

At least three people were killed Saturday when a landslide swept through a small village in the southern Swiss Alps, close to the Italian border, an official said.

At least three people were killed Saturday when a landslide swept through a small village in the southern Swiss Alps, close to the Italian border, an official said.

Several buildings in Gondo, including a restaurant and the village hall, were swept away, Valais canton police said.

Swiss customs official Rolf Gruber told Swiss radio that at least three people were killed. The radio report also said 10 people were missing after the landslide hit at about midday (1000 GMT).

Other residents were evacuated from their homes by helicopter, Gruber said. The slide apparently occurred after a smaller mudslide caused water to build up behind a protective dam above the village, which gave way, he added.

Gondo, a village of some 150 inhabitants on the Simplon pass road that connects southern Switzerland with northern Italy, was inaccessible by land from both countries Saturday. Rescuers were working to clear the road to the village.

The Simplon rail tunnel, on the main line between Milan and the Swiss capital, Bern, also was closed due to flooding on the Italian side of the border.

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