Investigation Continues after Ten People Feared Caught in Austria Avalanche

Four people were injured, one seriously, after the slide struck on Xmas Day in Zurs in the Arlberg area in western Austria. A huge search operations was launched. First videos have been posted on social media. UPDATED

200 people were involved in the search operation including eight helicopters and rescue teams with dogs.

Rescue teas came from as far away as Soelden in the neighbouring province of the Tirol.

The incident happened on face on the Trittkopf mountain between Zürs and Lech.

Avalanche warnings have been in place in the area throughout the Christmas weekend.

The head of tourism in the Zurs/Lech, Hermann Fercher, said the avalanche occurred even though explosives had been set off in that area to reduce the risk.

The local mountain rescue service had rated the avalanche danger at the time as “high” – Level 4 on a scale of 5.

The avalanche, that was 500m long, happened at 3 o’clock on Sunday at an altitude of 2,700m.

Ten people were initially feared buried under snow after an avalanche swept across ski runs.

On the mobile phone video of a witness standing in the distance, ten people could be seen in the path of the avalanche as it struck.

Here is one video of the incident.

Just before 1am on Monday, police confirmed all the missing had been accounted for, the Austria Press Agency reported.

Four people were injured, including a man who was flown to Innsbruck regional hospital with serious injuries.

The other six were not injured by the avalanche and made their way back to the resort.

There is no information immediately available on the identity of the people involved.

“It can be assumed that no more people are missing,” the statement added.

Nevertheless, “a security search will be carried out on Monday for final clarification”.

Rescuers needed head torches and lights to continue searching after dark.

An investigation is now underway.

It follows heavy snow and warm temperatures as we have reported on PlanetSKI.

PlanetSKI reader, Lizzie Hutchinson, is on holiday in Zurs.

“I came back to notice a lot of activity close to our hotel, about 500m away, sadly an avalanche which possibly came onto a slope.

“Terrible Christmas for some – don’t expect on your doorstep” she said.

An investigation is continuing.

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Image c/o PlanetSKI