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Three skiers die in Austrian Alps avalanche

Three skiers die in Austrian Alps avalanche

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Austria has seen record snowfall this week, raising avalanche warnings (file picture) Three men have been killed in an avalanche near the Austrian ski resort of Lech am Arlberg, local police said.A fourth person is missing. They have not been named but are said to be aged 28. The group…

A sign warning of avalanche danger is seen on a closed road after heavy snowfall near Obertauern, Austria Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Austria has seen record snowfall this week, raising avalanche warnings (file picture)

Three men have been killed in an avalanche near the Austrian ski resort of Lech am Arlberg, local police said.

A fourth person is missing. They have not been named but are said to be aged 28.

The group came from southern Germany and were reported missing by one of their wives on Saturday night.

The dead men, aged 32, 36 and 57, were found by rescuers at about 23:00 (2200 GMT), but the search had to be halted due to the ongoing avalanche risk.

The group had made its way to a ski route that was closed off due to the danger.

Police in the western province of Vorarlberg said they were wearing touring skis, which are used to climb uphill slopes and ski off-piste.

The three victims bring the number of weather-related deaths in parts of Europe this month to at least 24, the Associated Press reports.

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Media captionHeavy snow continues to hit parts of Europe

Austria has seen record snowfall, with more forecast for the weekend. Soldiers, firefighters, and volunteers have been battling to clear cut-off roads and rooftops during breaks in the weather.

On Friday, troops airlifted 66 German students and teachers to safety, after they became stranded at the Kasberg ski station in Grünau.

The same day, the Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the south German state of Bavaria, and a nine-year-old boy was killed near Munich when a tree collapsed under the weight of snow.

In Switzerland, an avalanche hit the restaurant of the Hotel Säntis in Schwägalp, injuring three people.

Local reports said the avalanche had been 300m (984ft) wide when it came down the nearby mountain pass.

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Media captionSnow brings parts of Europe to standstill

A Nasa graphic tweeted by BBC Weather showed how the geography of Europe has shaped the snow’s progress.

“Little to no snow has fallen on the Italian side of the Alps,” meteorologist Matt Taylor noted. “The sheer scale of the Alps has blocked the snow-bearing clouds making it over.”

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