Avalanche kills two German skiers in Austria | News | DW | 06.01.2018

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Avalanche kills two German skiers in Austria

The bodies of two German nationals caught in an avalanche in Austria on Friday have been recovered. The two men, aged 25 and 26, were skiing off piste when they were killed by a sliding wall of snow.

Rescuers recovered the body of a second skier on Saturday, a day after the avalanche buried him and his ski partner.

The two men were from the state of Bavaria, and were skiing near the village of Kals in Austria's western Tyrol region on Friday when they were buried by a tumbling wall of snow.

The body of the 25-year-old skier was recovered late Friday under two meters (6.5 feet) of snow. The body of the 26-year-old was found deeper under the snow on Saturday, according to police officer Franz Riepler, who coordinated the search effort.

"The emergency medic could confirm that he was dead," Riepler told dpa.

A third friend alerted the rescue service after the two men failed to appear at an agreed meeting point Friday afternoon.

Officials said 70 mountain rescue workers were involved in the search despite a continued avalanche risk. The skiers were wearing avalanche beepers, which helped rescuers find them.

A "considerable" avalanche warning — level three on a five-level warning scale — was in effect at the time of the accident. At such levels skiiers are not supposed to ski down slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Police were investigating Saturday to determine the steepness of the slope where the avalanche occurred.

The deadly wall of snow that came crashing down the mountain at midday was 100 meters (110 yards) wide and 400 meters long.

The safety of rescuers was a concern throughout the search effort.

"This is a massive rift," police told reporters at the scene. "No one is able to estimate when the slide might follow."

Read more: 

-Landslide in Austria leaves 130 villagers trapped in Vals

-Three skiers killed near mountain pass in French Alps avalanche

bik, ss/nm (dpa, AFP, AP)


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