At approximately 11:30am local time, an avalanche came down on a large group of ski mountaineers near the summit of 11,000-foot Monte Nevoso in Italy. 6 skiers were killed in the avalanche, one was injured, some survived uninjured, and some may still be missing. Its estimated the group consisted of 15 backcountry skiers in all.
It’s believed that 5 of the deceased were Italians (including one 16-year-old) and one was Austrian. It’s being reported that one woman was extracted from the snow injured, but alive. It’s currently unclear what triggered the avalanche.
The survivors called for help. Rescuers brought 4 helicopters, 100 rescue personnel, and avalanche dogs for the complex rescue operation.
“Some were partly covered or under the snow and able to free themselves, and some clearly just saw it happen.” – police officer Albert Castlunger.
“The helicopters are having difficulty safely reaching altitudes above 3,000 meters. They fly with very little fuel and all unnecessary gear is left on the ground.” – Rafael Kostner, the head of the rescue operation told ANSA
The avalanche was reportedly about 1,000-feet wide and occurred about about 10,000-feet.
Avalanche danger was rated as a 3 out of 5 at the time and place of the avalanche.
On January 13th, 5 school children were killed in a large avalanche while skiing with their teacher in France. That teacher is facing charges of manslaughter.