Dogs' barks help rescue in Swiss avalanche

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Two people buried in an avalanche in Switzerland have been rescued after their dogs barked for help, attracting the attention of nearby snow-shoers who were able to dig them out.

The avalanche swept the pair off a hiking trail in the Avers Valley in Switzerland's southwest, near the Italian border and west of St Moritz on Saturday.

"Their dogs, who were not buried by the masses of snow, drew attention to themselves by barking loudly," air ambulance service Rega said on Sunday.

"The dogs attracted the attention of a group of snow-shoers who were some distance away in the same valley but had not witnessed the avalanche."

Roughly 15-20 minutes after the avalanche the group was at the scene, where one of the avalanche victims' hands was visible.

The other person was buried entirely, Rega said. Both were dug out slightly injured and with mild hypothermia before Rega flew them to hospital by helicopter.

Rega did not say how many dogs were involved or what breed they were.

Snow-shoeing is a form of hiking with footwear that prevents the foot from sinking deep into snow.