A 19 year-old Austrian skier owes his life to an avalanche rescue dog, who located him in only a few minutes. The skier was completely buried in the slide, which occurred within sight of a chairlift at Westendorf, in Tyrol.
The man was powder skiing with four friends on Sunday when they triggered the slide. Skiers on a chairlift above called for a rescue, and Asta and her handler, Sebastian Antretter, arrived in 20 minutes. Asta quickly went to work, locating the buried skier in only 10 minutes. The skier was relatively unharmed and was able to communicate with rescue personnel and was flown to a nearby hospital and treated for mild hypothermia. The other skiers in the party were able to free themselves, although a 55 year-old man was seriously injured.
Rescue dogs and their handlers are invaluable when it comes to searches in and around resorts, or other easily accessed areas.
Two mean have been killed in the last few days in avalanches in the Austrian alps, after heavy snow fell on the region following a relatively dry early season. The backcountry risk of avalanches remains high in the Voralberg and Tyrol regions.