Three German skiers killed in Austrian avalanche after heavy snowfall
Three German skiers were found dead and a fourth was missing after they were swept away in an avalanche near the Austrian ski resort of Lech am Arlberg, police said yesterday.
The four had been using touring skis, which enable skiers to climb as well as ski downhill and explore off-piste, said police in the western province of Vorarlberg.
The bodies of the three men, from Upper Swabia in south-west Germany, were found at about 11 pm on Saturday after one of their wives reported them missing. They were aged 57, 36 and 32. The fourth person, who is 28 and also from southern Germany, was still missing, a police statement said.
Heavy snow has hit the Austrian Alps in the past week, raising avalanche warning levels and cutting off local roads.
Elsewhere, two employees at the Morillon ski resort in the French Alps died yesterday when avalanche-control charges they were trying to set accidentally went off, mountain rescue experts said. The accident took place at an altitude of 1,800 metres (6,000 feet). Controlled explosions are carried out before the slopes open to mitigate the risk of larger avalanches.
The two incidents brings the number of weather-related deaths reported in parts of Europe so far this month to at least 25.
Police in Austria said the friends killed in the avalanche had apparently skied on to a trail that was closed. Although they had avalanche protection equipment and deployed airbags, they were buried and suffered multiple injuries. They were found with the help of mobile phone tracking.
Authorities in southern Germany and Austria used a break in the weather on Saturday to clear snow from roofs and roads. But later that evening snow set in again.