Advertisement

Eight dead in weekend avalanches in Austria

Author thumbnail
AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Eight dead in weekend avalanches in Austria
In this file photo from 2016, a member of the mountain rescue team stands at the end of the operations after an avalanche close to Riva di Tures in South Tyrol. Photo: PIERRE TEYSSOT / AFP

Austrian police said Sunday that five people had been killed in avalanches in the west of the country, after three deaths were reported Saturday despite pleas for caution on ski slopes.

Advertisement

The eight deaths came as resorts are filled during the February school holidays in Vienna, with the avalanche alert level at four on a scale of five after several days of intense snowfall and wind.

On Sunday, the body of a 59-year-old man buried while helping the snow removal effort in his tractor was recovered, police in Austria's western Tyrol region said.

Two skiers aged 29 and 33, including a guide, who were carried off-piste on Saturday morning, were found dead in Sankt Anton am Arlberg.

And a 62-year-old man, who had not returned after cross-country skiing around the summit of Hohe Aifner, was recovered by rescuers and could not be revived, a police spokesman told AFP.

The authorities declined to give information on the nationality of the four victims recovered Sunday.

On Saturday, a 17-year-old New Zealander who was skiing off-piste, a German man in his 50s and a 32-year-old Chinese man, also said to be skiing outside of the designated routes, were found dead.

Over the past two days, heavy snowfall and wind have increased the avalanche danger, with officials warning winter sports enthusiasts to exercise caution.

Thirty avalanches were reported on Saturday in Tyrol alone, eleven of which involved missing people, with the numerous rescue operations hampered by poor visibility and bad weather conditions.

Advertisement

Despite the alert level being set at four on a scale of five however, many holidaymakers have ventured off the marked slopes, authorities said.

With the February school holidays underway in Vienna, Austria's resorts have filled up after a poor start to the season because of the lack of snow at low and medium altitudes.

Avalanches have killed around 20 people annually in recent years in Austria, a top winter sports destination.

In Tyrol and the neighbouring region of Vorarlberg, authorities again warned that avalanche risks were high due to wind and snowfall.

 

 

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also