Deadliest accident of the season kills five in Zillertal Alps, Austria

Caitlin Perry | ClimbingClimbing


Five climbers have been killed and one seriously injured after a free climbing accident in Austria caused them to fall 200m. The tragic accident occurred in the Zillertal Alps, southwest of Salzburg, Austria. . This area is a popular summer and winter destination for climbers, hikers and mountaineers alike.

Reports on the accident suggest the climbers were in an area known as Mannlkarscharte pass near Krimml. The area is prone to rockslides and described as being ‘impassable’ due to its location, which is under a glacier. Police reported the 200m fall occurred when one of the men slipped and pulled the others with him. While Red Cross rescue team member Anton Voithofer believes that a rope came loose causing the accident. The climbers are believed to be of various ages ranging from 30 to over 70.




Five rescue helicopters were despatched to the scene at an altitude of 2,900m (9.500ft) above sea level. Rescuers hoped to find the climbers alive, however five of them were deceased and found in a crevasse. The single survivor, believed to be in his 70’s, was airlifted to a Salzburg hospital where he is being treated. It is unconfirmed whether all the bodies have been recovered from the scene. The perished climbers are believed to be German, although this, along with their identities and exact ages has yet to be officially confirmed.


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The Italian Alps have seen tragedy in recent weeks also as three Italian climbers perished on a glacier in a separate climbing accident in the Adamello Brenta Park near Trento. Two of them died at the scene after falling into a crevasse while the third was rescued, but later died. A fourth Italian climber has died in an unrelated accident due to a rockslide in the Valtellina Valley near the Swiss border. It is unconfirmed whether global warming is responsible for the increase in rockslides as glaciers begin to melt in these mountain ranges.

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