Dan­gers of heavy winter

Ac­ci­dents, avalanches have led to 21 deaths in the last 10 days

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation & World - Jo­vana Gec, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

Gian Ehren­zeller/the As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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