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Tributes to zip wire death student

The family of a British student who died in the Swiss Alps after smashing into a rock face on a zip wire has described her as a "fun-loving young woman" who "lived life to the full".

Andrea Watton, from Fordingbridge in the New Forest, Hampshire, was with six other sport science students on a trip to the village of Saas-Fee in the south of the country.

The 21-year-old was on a "via ferrata" - a mountain route fitted with cables, ladders and bridges - when the accident happened on Sunday.

Ms Watton and her group were making their way across the Gorge Alpine route that links Saas-Fee to Saas-Grund, crossing gorges on zip wires, bridges, steps, steel cables and ladders.

When the student reached the third zip wire on the course, she decided not to use the special equipment designed for the activity, local police said.

A spokesman said: "Despite the reservations of her colleagues, she fixed only two hooks to the cable and launched herself. She was unable to brake when she reached the other side and smashed violently into a rock face. She died immediately."

The group had set out without a guide, he added. The local magistrate in Haut-Valais has opened an investigation into the incident to establish what happened.

Her family said in a statement released through police: "Andrea was a beautiful, fun-loving and adventurous young woman. She was a generous and kind daughter, grand-daughter, sister and friend.

"She will be missed terribly by all who had the good fortune to know her. Andrea's recent visit to Switzerland was part of her ongoing Sports Science degree studies (she attended Bangor University).

"She loved outdoor pursuits and planned to make a career out of this. She was always eager to be in the great outdoors and to try all new activities. It is a tragedy that such a promising young woman had such a short life and will never realise her incredible potential.

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