Three Dead in Austria as First Avalanche Deaths of Season Reported

Eleven people were skiing off piste in Salzburgerland when the accident happened. Eight of them were caught in the slide. Two were injured. The authorities are urging caution after fresh snow falls on an unstable base. UPDATED

They are the first reported avalanche fatalities of the winter.

The accident happened on Saturday 4th December at 2,400m in the Lungau district of the region, according to reports from the local Red Cross.

It is an area common with ski tourers and it is understood the group was ascending at the time.

The avalanche authorities in Austria had issued warnings for the area and said the risk of avalanche was Level 3 on scale of 5, meaning the chance of avalanche was “considerable”.

The risk came from wind transported snow on an unstable base.

“Attention: northerly winds transporting the cold powder. Especially treacherous: Tauern and Lungau,” they said on their web site.

Image c/o Lawine

Image c/o Lawine

Two were pronounced died at the scene after being buried under 4m of snow and another in hospital after being rescued.

All the people involved came from Austria.

One  of the deceased is reported to be the junior world motocross & European champion, 19-year-old Rene Hofer.

There has been recent heavy snowfall in the region as we have reported in our rolling snow report.

The authorities are urging caution for those skiing off piste in early season conditions.

An investigation into the fatal accident is underway.

Image © PlanetSKI