Germany raises avalanche alert after skiier deaths

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Germany raises avalanche alert after skiier deaths
Rescue workers searched on Saturday for a woman who was buried by an avalance in the Teisenberg mountain range near Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Heavy snowfall in southern Germany and the deaths of skiers prompted authorities Sunday to raise the avalanche alert warning in the Bavarian Alps to the second-highest level.


The Bavarian avalanche warning service said it had boosted the alert level to four on a scale of five, warning of a "great danger of avalanches in the Bavarian Alps".

A 20-year-old woman died Saturday after she was buried by an avalanche on the Teisenberg mountain range in Upper Bavaria, near the Austrian border.

Five other people in her ski group were unharmed.

In Wackersberg near Bad Tölz in Upper Bavaria, a 44-year-old skier was killed by falling branches on Sunday evening. The man was hit by a crown of trees that had broken off under the snow load, police said.

The man was immediately dead. According to police, he was travelling alone. Subsequent skiiers found him and alerted the emergency services.

On Sunday, two German skiers died in avalanches in the Austrian mountains. Both died in the western state of Vorarlberg, bordering Germany, the police reported

Meteorologists said they expected the region, already hit by days of heavy snow, to see a further 10 to 40 centimetres of snow by Monday.

A thick blanket of snow snarled rail and road traffic across the state of Bavaria over the weekend, while Munich airport was forced to cancel 130 flights on Saturday.

The situation at the airport eased on Sunday, with 15 flights scrapped by mid-afternoon and others facing minor delays, a spokeswoman told AFP.

Snow staying strong on Monday

By Monday morning there were several road closures throughout Bavaria due to the danger of avalanches. Throughout the German alps, the second highest avalanche warning level went into effect. Further snowfalls have been announced for the next few days.

There was heavy traffic by Siegsdorf on Sunday in Bavaria, where trees had fallen onto the road. Photo: DPA

During the night on Monday, up to 20 centimeters of fresh snow are possible in the Berchtesgadener Land district and up to five centimeters in the Allgäu, according to a meteorologist from the German weather service. He warned of avalanches and snow breaks like falling branches.

In several counties as well as in Lindau, classes were due to be cancelled at many schools on Monday. Authorities, fire brigades and auxiliaries were expected to try to get the public transport system up and running again during the day.

Due to trees that had fallen onto the overhead lines under the snow load, there were numerous transit breakdowns and closures over the weekend.



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