Three skiers killed in Austrian avalanche as death toll rises to 24 across Europe
VIENNA, Jan 13: Three German skiers have been killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps, bringing the number of weather-related deaths in Europe this month to 24 as heavy snow continues to paralyse parts of the continent.
The bodies of the three men, aged 57, 36 and 32, were recovered on Saturday evening, a few hours after they were reported missing near the ski resort of Lech am Arlberg.
The search for a fourth skier who remains missing had to be called off because of heavy snow and the risk of avalanches, police said. Following heavy snowfall over the past week, the avalanche warning in areas above 2,000m in the Austrian Alps has risen to three on a scale that goes up to five. The UK Foreign Office has issued a warning to British tourists headed to Austria, noting that continued heavy snowfall since Tuesday could cause heightened risk of avalanches until the end of Sunday. On Saturday, authorities in Austria used a break in the weather to clear heavy loads of snow from roofs and roads.
Across Austria, Sweden and Germany, ski resorts have been closed and mountain villages shut off after heavy snow blocked transport links and brought down power lines over the past week. An Australian teenager died after being caught in an avalanche while skiing in St Anton am Arlberg in Austria on Wednesday.