Of the many incidents that can occur during a meal to ruin the dining experience, an avalanche is probably the least expected. The patrons at this Swisshotel restaurant certainly weren’t prepared for it. At around 4:00 PM last Thursday, a 984-foot-wide avalanche crashed through the window of the Hotel Säntis in the Schwägalp pass area of Switzerland. While all guests are accounted for, three were injured.
One hotel guest told the local Tagblatt newspaper that “there was a huge noise and a load of snow came in from the back of the restaurant.” The avalanche was so powerful that the street in front of the hotel was completely buried, submerging over 25 vehicles in snow, and at least one person needed to be dug out.
Following the incident, around 75 vacationers were transported by bus down the valley to safety while the rest remained with resort staff outside the avalanche danger zone. The areas of eastern Switzerland and canton Graubünden have seen extremely heavy snowfall recently, with 20-35 inches falling in the past three days. The road to the Schwägalp mountain pass is open, but access to the Säntis Hotel remains closed to all traffic until conditions improve.