5 dead after Austrian avalanche strikes skiers

  • 07/02/2016
An avalanche warning sign (Reuters)
An avalanche warning sign (Reuters)

Five people have been killed after a "massive" avalanche in the Austrian Alps struck skiers from the Czech Republic.

Two other skiers were injured and ten were rescued unharmed, Tirol police spokesman Helmut Schuetz said.

He said the skiers were moving in two separate groups of twelve and five when the avalanche hit them around noon on Saturday (local time) in the Wattener Lizum region, 30 kilometres southeast of Innsbruck.

"It was one massive avalanche, several hundred metres wide and long," Schuetz told The Associated Press by telephone, adding that the tear point, where the slab of snow broke off from the mountain, was 1 metre deep. "It was many tons of snow."

Authorities had warned that the risk of avalanches in the region was "considerable," the third highest on a five-point scale.