6 Killed in 2 Separate Avalanches in the Austrian Alps Yesterday

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Stock image of a massive avalanche in the Alps. Image: Gear Junkie

Six people have been killed in two separate avalanches in the Austrian Alps, Austrian authorities said yesterday.

A slide in the Dachstein area, a group of mountains located on the border of Upper Austria and Styria, killed five Czech mountaineers on Sunday, police said. The group of snowshoers were swept away by an avalanche around 9.30 am on Sunday.

The three women, aged 27, 30 and 37, and two men, aged 28 and 46, were walking in snowshoes toward their intended climb when the avalanche buried them under three feet of snow. Witnesses tried to help the climbers and alerted the authorities, but efforts to resuscitate the victims failed. The climbers were not wearing avalanche location beacons, Upper Austria provincial police said.

In the Grossglockner area of southwestern Austria, a policeman died during an alpine training session after a separate avalanche hit. In a statement, Austria’s Ministry of the Interior said the 33-year-old officer, from Carinthia, was dragged down by the avalanche and died of his injuries at the scene.

Austria’s interior minister, Karl Nehammer, said: “The death of a young employee is a severe blow, especially in such tragic circumstances – for both the family and for the closest colleagues… Thousands of police officers carry out dangerous tasks for our democratic coexistence every day. Let us take this tragic accident as an opportunity to visualize the dangers associated with the police service.”

Heavy snow returned to the Alps last week, with some resorts reporting over 5-feet in a 7-day period.

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