Geneva - A woman has drowned in Lake Geneva when her sightseeing boat sank as a violent storm battered parts of Switzerland on Saturday, police said.

A man who was in the same boat was able to swim to another vessel from where he fired “two flares”, Joanna Matta, police spokeswoman for the canton (region) of Geneva, told AFP.

The man told officers that the woman had been “passing through Geneva” and that the storm had taken them “by surprise”, Matta said.

Three police boats and emergency services rushed to the scene. Police divers later retrieved the woman’s body from the lake.

The victim, whose nationality remains unknown, was then taken to a hospital in Geneva where she was declared dead.

In a separate incident, the storm also damaged some of the 465 boats taking part in the 81st edition of the Bol d’Or, an annual regatta on Lake Geneva, the event’s press service said.

Heavy rain and strong winds lashed the participants on Saturday afternoon, causing boats to capsize although nobody was injured.