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Last Canyoning Victim Sought

August 2, 1999

INTERLAKEN, Switzerland (AP) _ Rescuers used an underwater camera Monday to search for the final missing victim of the river disaster in the Swiss Alps, and tourists resumed jumping, sliding and rappelling down waterfalls in the extreme sport known as canyoning.

The bodies of 20 people killed Tuesday in a flash flood during a canyoning excursion in the fast-running Saxeten brook have been recovered.

The main rescue operation was suspended Sunday to give the exhausted searchers time to recover. A separate team from Germany, using specially trained dogs, searched the Luetschine river, downstream from the scene of the accident.

Tourism officials said canyoning trips have resumed in other parts of the central Swiss mountain region, but not around Interlaken itself.

Demand in the area for the activity, in which participants slide, jump or rappel down waterfalls and mountain streams into gorges without rafts, is down sharply, regional tourism director Hannes Imboden said.

Interlaken-based Adventure World, the organizer of Tuesday’s fatal tour, has suspended its canyoning operations indefinitely.

Authorities said Friday they were investigating whether five guides on the expedition were guilty of negligent homicide for not taking notice of a pending storm. Another three guides who went with the group of 45 vacationers were killed in the flood.

The firm’s managers say the guides received tough training that included coping with flood conditions.

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