Weekend avalanches kill 11 in Switzerland, Austria and Italy
Two off-piste skiers died when they were swept away by an avalanche near Disentis in southeast Switzerland on Saturday. Nine other people were killed in avalanches in Austria and Italy over the weekend as heavy snow and school holidays attracted skiers to the Alps.
In Switzerland a 56-year-old woman and 52-year-old man skiing off piste were buried by an avalanche in the Val Segnas region, above Disentis, in canton Graubünden on Saturday morning. Swiss police said a third member of their group managed to escape unharmed.
More than a dozen avalanches were also reported in the western Tirol region in neighbouring Austria this weekend.
On Sunday a snow plough driver in East Tirol was recovered dead after being swept away. In Oetztal a 32-year-old Chinese skier died, while in Zillertal a 17-year-old man from New Zealand was buried. In Kleinwalsertal a 55-year-old German man missing since Friday was found dead.
A 31-year-old German woman was also killed on Saturday in the South Tirol region of Italy when a snow mass broke loose at 2,200 metres near the Limo Pass some 80 kilometres east of Bolzano. Rescue efforts were complicated by 120km/h winds; her body was recovered from under 2.5 metres of snow. Another woman skiing with her was freed from the snow unharmed.
Other victims this weekend included a 29-year-old ski guide and his 33-year-old guest who were skiing away from prepared ski runs when a snowboarder set off an avalanche above them in St. Anton in Austria on Saturday. And in Kaunertal a 62-year old man was killed by another avalanche.
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