Series of avalanches kill two people in one day

Heavy snowfall in  mountainous areas around Austria over the last two days has resulted in nine avalanches and the death of two people. Several roads around the country are impassable after the new snow with the state of Vorarlberg left completely cut off from the rest of Austria.

A series of severe avalanches in the state of Styria claimed two lives yesterday (Thurs). A tour guide was found dead in Zirbitzkogel late in the afternoon and only a few hours later mountain rescue discovered the corpse of an alpine policeman. The 56-year-old was carried away by an avalanche right in front his wife in Leoben at around midday.

The two deaths come after a Swedish tourist was swept away and killed by an avalanche when skiing on piste in Ischgl, Austra on Wednesday.

Some 90 guests and employees of Hotel St. Christoph am Arlberg were also left stranded after an avalanche left the entrance to their hotel buried beneath metres of snow early on Thursday. Mountain rescue teams, fire rescue and alpine police were deployed to remove the masses of snow, with sniffer dogs checking for possible victims.

Hotel manager Elisabeth Wechselberger said, “Thank God no one was out of the house at this time – there were no injuries.”

Rudi Mair from the Tyrol avalanche warning service said, “Winter is here. We have not had so much snow for 30 years. This weekend is still critical – so take care on the slopes!”