Europe

Austria avalanche: Four skiers dead in Tyrol

Search teams work at the site after an avalanche went down at the "Jochgrubenkopf" mountain in the Austrian Alps (15 March) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rescue teams worked for hours on the mountain in search of the missing fourth victim

Four people were killed when a large avalanche swept away a ski group in the Austrian Alps, police say.

The avalanche hit the remote Jochgrubenkopf peak in the Tyrol region at about 12:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

It engulfed a group of eight foreign tourists, but four managed to free themselves and seek help, according to Austrian reports.

Three bodies were found quickly but rescuers searched for hours to find the fourth body buried deep in the snow.

Local reports said the ski group was visiting from Switzerland.

Rudi Mair from the Tyrol avalanche warning service said "tonnes of snow" had come down the 2,400m (7,800ft) mountain. The avalanche was said to have been about 700m (2,300 feet) long.

The alert level at the time had been quite low.

But Mr Mair told Austrian broadcaster ORF that the avalanche had been triggered by a small amount of fresh snow on top of several, unstable layers of old snow.

Fourteen people in Austria have died in avalanche accidents this winter, officials say.

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