Dangers of heavy winter
Accidents, avalanches have led to 21 deaths in the last 10 days
BELGRADE, Serbia — Heavy snow paralyzed much of Europe for another day, cutting off mountain villages, sparking avalanches — like one that crashed into a Swiss hotel — and killing at least four more people Friday.
In all, at least 21 weatherrelated deaths have been reported in Europe in the last 10 days.
Workers at the Hotel Saentis in eastern Switzerland spent Friday shoveling out hipdeep snow after an avalanche smashed through the hotel’s windows Thursday afternoon and piled up in rooms and the dining hall. Police said three people were hurt by avalanche in Schwaegalp.
The Bulgarian Red Cross said two snowboarders were killed in an avalanche in southwest Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains.
A snowplow driver died Friday in Germany after his vehicle toppled into an icy river, and an electrical worker in Albania suffered a fatal heart attack while repairing damaged power lines.
Austrian military helicopters on Friday flew 66 German teenagers out of a mountain guest house where they had been stuck for several days.
In Albania, about 2,000 soldiers and other emergency workers were assigned to help people trapped by snow and to clear roads to restore access to isolated villages.
Several towns and cities in southwest Serbia introduced emergency measures, warning of snow piling up on the roads and sealing off mountain villages, Serbian state TV reported Friday. Most schools in the area closed down, and 10 people had to be rescued from their homes. Strong winds complicated the work of emergency crews.
In the central Bosnian municipality of Kladanj, snow disrupted power supplies and cut phone lines.
In Germany and Austria, where heavy snow caused fatal avalanches and major disruptions in the past few days, the situation was easing Friday. Still, airlines canceled about 120 flights at Frankfurt Airport and 90 at Munich Airport because of concerns about snow.
In the elegant Austrian city of Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed Friday because of the danger posed by trees cracking under the weight of snow.
Hotel workers cleared snow Friday from inside the Hotel Saentis in Schwaegalp, Switzerland. Police said three people were slightly hurt when the avalanche hit the hotel.