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Published on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Travel disruption in Europe as weather-related death toll rises to seven






Heavy snowfall in parts of Austria and Germany has led to at least seven deaths in the Alps over the past few days and road and rail closures.

A further four feet of snow is forecast for Austria over the next few days and the country said it was getting mountaineer teams and helicopters ready for possible rescue missions.

The Netherlands is also suffering from extreme weather conditions, and national carrier KLM has cancelled 159 flights today to and from European destinations because Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is to shut one of its airports due to a storm.

KLM is also warning of further possible disruption tomorrow.

The bodies of a 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman who went missing while snowshoeing have been found near Salzburg in central Austria, while about 40 rescuers with dogs are still searching for two others who went missing while snowshoeing near Hohenberg in Lower Austria, the Austrian news agency APA reported.

In Germany, a 44-year-old man died in Wackersberg in Bavaria when he was hit by tree branches brought down by heavy snow, police said.

Authorities also said that a woman who was buried by an avalanche last week in the Uri canton of Switzerland died of her injuries over the weekend.

Three skiers in Austria were killed by avalanches and a 20-year-old woman was killed by an avalanche in Bavaria, near the Austrian border, on Saturday.

The Hochkar alpine road and the entire Hochkar skiing region in Lower Austria have been closed because of the high risk of avalanches. Residents and visitors asked to leave the region by the end of the day.

Austrian authorities warned skiers not to go off the slopes and not drive their cars unless needed.

In Bavaria, authorities has also had to close roads and some train lines because of heavy snowfall and in some parts of southern Bavaria and the Steiermark region in Austria.

Police in Norway yesterday released the names of four skiers - a 29-year Swedish woman and three Finns, aged 29, 32 and 36 - who are presumed dead after a 300-meter-wide avalanche was reported in Tamok valley, near the northern city of Tromsoe.

Heavy snowfall and poor visibility has hampered rescue efforts over the past few days.

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