British student dies in Swiss zip wire accident

Map of Switzerland showing the village of Saas Fee

A British student has died in the Swiss Alps after crashing into a rock face on a zip wire.

The 21-year-old woman was one of a group of six sports science students on a "via ferrata" - a mountain hiking route fitted with cables, ladders and bridges - near the village of Saas-Fee.

She is understood to have lost control after failing to secure herself properly to the wire.

The Foreign Office said she died on Sunday and next of kin had been told.

'Died instantly'

The group of students was reportedly in an area known as the Gorge Alpine.

Police spokesman Vincent Favre told AFP news agency they were using the third in a series of zip wires when the accident happened.

"For the zip wire there's a special equipment with wheels equipped with a brake," he said.

"For an unknown reason, the young woman decided not to use this equipment. She died instantly."

An investigation has been launched by the regional magistrate's office in the town of Valais, and Mr Favre said it "must establish whether it was compulsory to have a guide" in order to follow the route.

On its website, Saas-Fee guides mountaineering office describes the Gorge Alpine route as "technically easy," with minimum gradients and "no prior knowledge required".

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