Avalanches kill at least 9 people, including a teenager, in Italy and Austria as heavy snowfall hits the Alps

The danger of avalanches


At least nine people died in avalanches in Austria and Italy over the weekend, as heavy snowfall and school holidays drew skiers to the Alps, with some of the victims dying after skiing in unmarked areas despite warnings of increased avalanche danger, police said.

On Sunday, a snowplow driver was found dead in East Tyrol, Austria, after being swept away. A 32-year-old Chinese skier died in the Ötztal, a 17-year-old New Zealander was buried in the Zillertal and a 55-year-old German who had been missing since Friday was found dead in the Kleinwalsertal.

More than a dozen avalanches were reported in the Tyrol region of Austria alone, and authorities had set a warning level of four on a scale of five, urging caution. The avalanche warning service in Tyrol continued to advise against winter sports in the area on Monday and named danger level three – which corresponds to a “considerable” danger – and stated that “the avalanche conditions are still unfavorable”. The warning service added that people in the region should exercise “great caution and restraint” because even a single winter sports enthusiast can trigger “large” avalanches in some places.

A 31-year-old German woman was killed on Saturday in the Italian region of South Tyrol when a mass of snow fell at 7,200 feet near the Limo Pass about 50 miles east of Bolzano, the dpa news agency reported. Rescue efforts were complicated by 75-mph winds, and the woman’s body was recovered from under more than two feet of snow. Another woman who was skiing with her was extricated from the snow unharmed.

Other victims on Saturday included a 29-year-old ski guide and his 33-year-old male guest who were skiing off-piste when a snowboarder triggered an avalanche overhead in St Anton, Austria. In the Kaunertal, about 50 km east of it, a 62-year-old man was killed by another snow slide.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nine-dead-avalanches-alps-italy-austria-heavy-snow/ Avalanches kill at least 9 people, including a teenager, in Italy and Austria as heavy snowfall hits the Alps

Rick Schindler

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