Austria finds all missing people alive after avalanche
Ten people were initially feared buried after an avalanche in the Lech/Zuers skiing area, but all were later found alive.
A search and rescue operation has been suspended in western Austria after the last two people unaccounted for following an avalanche in the Lech Zuers skiing area contacted authorities, according to the Austrian Press Agency (APA).
The avalanche occurred shortly before 3pm (14:00 GMT) on Sunday, APA said on Monday, adding the initial suspicion that 10 people were buried by the avalanche was based on a skier’s video.
One person was quickly rescued from the snow and flown to the hospital in Innsbruck with serious injuries. Four were injured in total.
The remainder of those who could be seen on the video came forward during the course of Sunday evening, APA said.
Some had descended into the valley on their own and did not report their involvement in the avalanche incident at first.
Lech/Zuers markets itself as “one of the best ski areas in the world” and part of the cradle of Alpine skiing.
About 200 rescue workers were searching the avalanche site near the town of Zuers.
Searchlights were set up on the snow mass to continue the search after darkness fell on Sunday, and dogs were being used to try to find the missing.
The avalanche occurred on the 2,700-metre (nearly 9,000-foot) high Trittkopf mountain between Zuers and Lech am Arlberg, and the cascading snow reached as far as nearby ski trails.
It followed days of snow in the high alpine region and unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day.
The local mountain rescue service had rated the avalanche danger as “high”.