At least seven people have died in avalanches in Austria since Friday. A winter athlete died in Kaltenbach in the Zillertal, according to a police spokesman in the state of Tyrol. According to the Austrian news agency APA, it was a 17-year-old New Zealander who was off-piste.
Previously, a man who had been reported missing on Friday was found dead under an avalanche in the Kleinwalsertal in the state of Vorarlberg. According to the APA, it was a 50-year-old. A 32-year-old Chinese skier died in an avalanche in Sölden in the Ötztal (Tyrol) on Friday. He, too, is said to have skied outside the marked slopes.
Despite corresponding warnings, many winter sports enthusiasts dare to leave the marked ski areas again and again
Dead in the snow plow
Four more avalanche deaths from Austria were reported on Sunday. In East Tyrol, the driver of a snow plow was found dead under snow, the police confirmed. The vehicle was caught in an avalanche and carried away. In the Kaunertal in Tyrol, a lifeless person was discovered in an avalanche. The victim is probably a missing 62-year-old ski tourer, police said.
Meanwhile, according to APA reports, two tourers aged 29 and 33 were also found dead in Sankt Anton am Arlberg. The search for the two winter sports enthusiasts had been going on for some time, but had to be interrupted on Saturday due to the high risk of avalanches.
High avalanche danger
Despite the warning level four on the five-digit scale in western Austria, numerous winter sports enthusiasts were outdoors. Several people were buried and injured during departures. “People are very irresponsible on the go and always in the free ski area – they just don’t believe it,” said an employee of the Vorarlberg control center. Stormy winds and fresh snow made conditions difficult for the rescuers and helicopter crews.
Numerous roads – such as here in Mühlbach am Hochkönig – were closed due to the threat of avalanches
Heavy snowfalls and strong winds have increased the risk of avalanches dangerously in Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Dozens of avalanches were counted in Tyrol alone. In the past few days, more than a meter of fresh snow had been measured in some regions. This also significantly hampered road traffic, with at least 17 road closures on Saturday alone.
In Switzerland, two skiers had a fatal accident in the canton of Graubünden. As the police announced, they too – a 56-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man – were off the slopes and were caught there by an avalanche. A third member of the group was unharmed.
kle/nob/sti/qu/wa (afp, dpa)