More than 100 avalanches hit Austria; nine killed in three days

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Nine people died in the three days when more than 100 avalanches hit Austria, officials said on Sunday, in hazardous conditions followed by hot weather for heavy snowfall.

Most of the avalanches hit the western Tyrol region, and Friday alone saw five fatalities, rescue services said.

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Police said an incident had claimed the lives of a group of Swedish skiers accompanied by a mountain guide in the vicinity of Ischgl, near the Swiss border.

Only one man survived among the guide and four of the group; luckily, he managed to call for help and was rescued by airlifting via helicopter.

Tyrol police reported that a 60-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife were hit while cross-country skiing near the village of Aufach.

As Austria suffered from snowfall, an experienced skier of 43 was killed in the famous Vorarlberg region; also, five winter sports enthusiasts were buried in snowfall at the main resort of Soelden but were all rescued.

Recent years have seen avalanches claim around 20 lives a year in Austria, fewer over the past two years after the pandemic vastly reduced the numbers of skiers.

Police reported, on Saturday, an avalanche hits Switzerland in Reckingen in the south-eastern wallies; a 68-year-old man died at the spot while the second person was injured brutally.

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The avalanche also caught a group of four Italian hikers; two of them were quickly found and rescued from the snow by the other two. One among them died at the spot, and the other was saved by airlifting to the hospital.

According to a provisional report released on Friday by the MeteoSwiss Weather Service, 45 people have been hit by avalanches so far this winter.

It urged people to be “careful, careful, careful”.

On Thursday, one person died, and several others were injured in avalanches in Switzerland’s Graubunden region, which borders Austria’s Tyrol.

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