Several people killed in a series of Alps avalanches | News | DW | 01.02.2015
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Several people killed in a series of Alps avalanches

Several people have died after being buried in the snow in Switzerland and Austria. Large parts of the Alps are still under threat from dangerous snow conditions.

A group of nine ski mountaineers from the Zurich region was buried under an avalanche on Saturday, while touring to peak Vilan near the Austrian border. At the moment of the impact, the mountaineers were off-piste at an altitude of 2,200 meters.

All of the skiers were wearing beacons indicating their position to the rescue forces.

Three people were found dead in the snow, while two more died in a Swiss hospital. Another person is reported to be seriously injured.

In addition, two men lost their lives in separate avalanches in Muerren and in Adelboden in Switzerland.

A man was also killed in western Austria while skiing in the resort of Damuels. An injured women skiing with him was rescued from the snow.

'Considerable' danger in Switzerland and Germany

There was a "considerable" avalanche risk in the area surrounding the alpine peak of Vilan, as well as large part of Switzerland, experts warned. This degree of risk corresponds to level three in the avalanche danger scale, with level five being the highest.

At this risk level, avalanches can be easily triggered even by a single person skiing on a slope.

Germany's Bavarian avalanche warning service has also announced that there is a "considerable" danger in the Bavarian Alps at the altitudes of over 1,600 meters, while the risk is deemed "moderate" beneath that level.

On Friday, a 20-year-old man and a 58-year old woman lost their lives in two avalanches in Schwarzwald, Germany, in one of the most serious avalanche-related accident in the decades, authorities said.

dj/sb (dpa, AFP)

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