Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Briton among two killed in Austrian ski resort avalanche

Two snowboarders, including one Briton, have become the first casualties of the season having been caught in a huge avalanche in the popular resort of Obergurgl in Austria at the weekend.

They are believed to have been touring off-piste as part of an all-male group of 10 when they were buried by an avalanche 600 to 800 metres wide and 1000 metres long as they climbed uphill in the Ferwall Valley.

A Dutch snowboarder in his 20s died at the scene while the British man, believed to be in his 40s, was dug out alive but later died from his injuries.

A third man, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, was taken to hospital where is injuries are said to be critical.

According to reports, the group included one person on skis, one person snowshoeing and eight people with split boards, which are snowboards that can be separated into two ski-like parts. 

The other snowboarders managed to dig themselves out and some skied down the valley to raise the alarm as there was no mobile reception where they were struck.

Rescuers said this meant that there was a 15 to 20-minute delay before the alarm was raised, which hampered their efforts to find the victims.

A police spokesman in Innsbruck said: "High-mountain police are investigating the incident. Two people died and a third person is in a very critical state in hospital.

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