- At midnight, a large stream of debris fell in the so-called “island” area on the mountain slope above the evacuated Graubünden village of Brienz/Brinzauls.
- The rock masses apparently only just missed the completely evacuated village.
- At midnight, the municipality declared phase blue – the highest of the five danger levels.
- At 2.30 p.m. the authorities want to inform. The media conference will be broadcast live here.
Before and after pictures of the Brienz (GR) debris storm
According to the municipality, the rock masses have left a meter-high deposit on the cantonal road near the school building. So far there have been no indications of other damage in the village.
Between 11 p.m. and midnight, a large part of the island slipped very quickly with a roar, reports Albula community spokesman Christian Gartmann early Friday morning. The population in the entire valley basin heard this clearly. The blue phase was then immediately heralded in the pitch-dark night. The traffic routes below Brienz were closed to be on the safe side.
Brienz was very lucky. The rock masses have come to a standstill a few meters before the first house.
According to Gartmann, daylight shows: “Brienz was very lucky. The rock masses have come to a standstill a few meters before the first house, the old school building. A short distance behind, the rock masses are already piling up several meters high.»
Damage to the village cannot be ruled out
For the time being, no information can be given about possible damage in the village, says Gartmann. Damage from smaller splinter stones from falling boulders cannot be ruled out.
During the course of the day, the geologists and natural hazard experts will fly over the area by helicopter in order to precisely determine the extent and any other dangers for the village. According to Gartmann, the first pictures show that a large part of the island has slipped and torn a huge furrow in the slope. “We are currently assuming that this was unfortunately not all.”
Returning to the village might take even longer
It is still unclear how long the extensive closures in the valley will have to be maintained. Nor does it say when the residents can return to their village immediately below the rockfall zone: “Brienz cannot be inhabited again before Brienz is completely safe,” says Gartmann.
Roads closed, new Tour de Suisse route
The cantonal roads from Tiefencastel in the direction of Surava (Landwasserstrasse) and Lenzerheide (Julierstrasse) as well as the Albula line of the Rhaetian Railway were closed.
The rock avalanche also has an impact on the Tour de Suisse: Because the route over the Albula Pass cannot be driven on, the start of the 6th stage will be moved from La Punt to Chur. The organizers share this on the Tour de Suisse website with. The start in Chur is at 12.30 p.m. This solution was prepared together with the authorities of the canton of Graubünden and the city of Chur.
According to the municipality, the speeds of the rock masses have increased tenfold since Thursday morning.
A rockfall had only occurred on Tuesday on the mountain slope at risk of falling. Since then, experts have been expecting a change in the dynamics on the mountain, but with an unclear direction.
RhB blocks Albula line ++ Postbus changes
As the spokeswoman Räthische Bahn AG (RhB), Yvonne Dünser said that specialists are currently assuming that the “island” area above the village can break off at any time. The RhB therefore ordered the immediate closure of the Tiefencastel – Filisur route on the Albula line. Since the Landwasserstrasse, which runs parallel to the railway line, is also closed, no buses can be used to replace the railway. According to the RhB, travelers from/to the Engadin should now travel via the Vereina line and travelers towards Filisur, Bergün/Bravuogn, Preda and Spinas via Landquart – Davos – Filisur.
The blue phase in Brienz/Brinzauls also has consequences for that Postbus offer in the region. Due to the closure of the road between Tiefencastel and Surava, Postbus has adjusted the route of several lines and in some cases also the timetables. information on www.postauto.ch.
Since May 12, the danger level red has applied in the Grisons mountain village of Brienz. This means that the entire village was no longer allowed to be entered. The highest alert level, blue, has been in effect since around midnight.