Two missing after avalanche hits skiers in Austria

Up to 10 people were initially feared missing based on a video from a witness, but rescue workers say eight of those have been identified and were no longer feared buried.

Rescue workers have launched a search for two people who went missing after an avalanche swept across ski trails in western Austria.

The avalanche occurred at about 3pm (14:00GMT) on Sunday in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area.

Initially, up to 10 people were feared missing based on video from a witness, but eight of those individuals had been identified and were no longer feared buried, the DPA news agency reported, citing a spokesperson for the rescue team.

One of those rescued was injured and flown to a hospital in the city of Innsbruck.

Another was hurt but was able to free himself and go to another hospital, regional security councillor Christian Gantner told the Austrian Press Agency (APA).

Six other people spotted in the video were uninjured.

The fate of the final two was unknown, APA reported.

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”.


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