Avalanches kill 9 in Italy and Austria as heavy snowfall hits Alps

FRANKFURT, Germany — Nine people died in avalanches in Austria and Italy this weekend as heavy snowfall and school holidays lured skiers to the Alps, with some of the victims dying after skiing in unmarked areas despite warnings high avalanche risk, police said.

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

More than a dozen avalanches have been reported in Austria’s Tyrol region alone and authorities have set the alert level at four on a scale of five and urged caution.

A 31-year-old German woman was killed in the South Tyrol region of Italy on Saturday when a mass of snow broke off 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) near the Limousine Pass about 80 kilometers (50 miles) ) east of Bolzano, the dpa news agency reported. . Rescue efforts were complicated by winds of 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour); his body was found under 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) of snow. Another woman skiing with her was freed from the snow unscathed.

Other victims on Saturday included a 29-year-old ski guide and her 33-year-old male guest who were skiing away from prepared ski slopes when a snowboarder triggered an avalanche above them in St. Anton in Austria . And in Kaunertal, a 62-year-old man was killed by another snowslide.


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