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A pair of hikers trapped in an avalanche were saved by their dogs after the animals barked for help.

The canines attracted the attention of nearby walkers who were able to dig them out, the air ambulance service Rega said.

The avalanche swept the pair off a hiking trail in the Avers Valley of southwestern Switzerland, near the Italian border and west of St Moritz, shortly after 3pm (local time) on Saturday, Rega said in a statement.

“Their dogs, who were not buried by the masses of snow, drew attention to themselves by barking loudly,” the statement said.

“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.

One of the avalanche victims’ hands was visible while the other person was buried entirely, Rega said.

Both were dug out slightly injured and with mild hypothermia. Rega then flew them by helicopter to hospital.

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

It comes after a British chef was killed in a Swiss Alps avalanche while skiing two weeks ago.

The 38-year-old, named by friends as Jamie Clark, was a budding chocolatier who had been living at least seasonally in Verbier for much of the last decade.

Originally from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Mr Clark was among 10 people swept away from the slopes at the popular alpine resort to the east of Geneva.

Eight escaped uninjured, local police said, while one was flown to hospital with serious injuries.

The avalanche occurred outside the piste between the Verbier ski area and ‘Les Attelas’ while the risk was three out of five, meaning “considerable” danger.