A group of seven people from Germany aged between 43 and 53 were skiing off-piste on open terrain in St. Anton am Arlberg in Tyrol, western Austria when one of them begun a descent of the slope and triggered the avalanche, which carried some of them with it for 800 metres, according to the reports from local police.
A mountain guide who was not part of the group observed the accident and notified rescue crews immediately, upon which the alpine police, three helicopters, and mountain rescue services came to aid.
One of the four apparently was not swept too far by the avalanche, though nothing more could be done for the two deceased. The other severely injured man was transported by helicopter to hospital in Innsbruck.
During the time of the accident local authorities had deemed the avalanche risk to be considerable, rating it three on a maximum scale of five, with avalanche triggers considered possible on steep slopes even with minor disruption.
The news follows a spate of deaths caused by avalanches in Tyrol this winter, including that of a 51-year-old Dutch man completely covered in an avalanche in Nauders on Friday. Despite initially surviving the ordeal and being revived by rescue crews, the man succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Saturday.