Geneva (AFP) – After a 12-hour ordeal, rescue workers pulled a two-year-old girl unharmed out of a deep crevice she tumbled into during a family hike in the Swiss Alps, police said Friday.
“She emerged basically unscathed, with just a few scratches,” Christian Zuber, a spokesman for the regional police in the canton of Valais, told AFP.
The girl and her family, reportedly from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, had been visiting the region near the Aletsch glacier in southern Switzerland when she strayed from a foot path and fell into a narrow fissure in the ground.
The accident occurred around midday Wednesday, Zuber said.
More than 100 rescue workers toiled into the early hours of Thursday to hoist the girl out of six-metre-deep (20-foot) cavity, he said, adding that she was finally pulled up around 2:00 am (0000 GMT).
Matthias Lorenz, who heads the fire brigade in the Aletsch region, told the ATS news agency that the rescue workers had been in a race against the clock as they carefully moved away earth, rocks and boulders, “centimetre by centimetre”.
The child had given signs of life throughout the rescue operation, he said.
“I have never before seen such a rescue operation,” he added.
The girl was later taken by helicopter to a hospital in Bern, where she spent one night under observation before being released, Zuber said.