Austrian avalanche: Czech skiers killed in Alps

Rescue teams prepare to search for a group of people buried by an avalanche at the Wattener Lizum, Austria, on February 6, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rescue teams were dispatched to the scene

Five Czech skiers have been killed in a huge avalanche in the Austrian Alps, local police say.

Tyrol police told the BBC that 17 people in two ski tour groups had been caught up in the avalanche on the Junsjoch mountain near the Wattental valley, south of Innsbruck.

The snow slide was said to have been more than a mile (1.6km) wide and about 16ft (4.8m) high.

Rescue workers with dog teams, assisted by helicopters, launched a search.

Some of the skiers managed to dig themselves out while others were rescued.

The injured have been taken to hospitals in the region.

This was one of 19 avalanches reported in Tyrol on Saturday. There were no other fatalities, but several people were reported injured.

There have been several deadly avalanches in the French Alps this skiing season.

Two French teenage students and a Ukrainian tourist were killed on 14 January when a teacher took students onto a closed piste at the Deux-Alpes resort.

Four days later, five French Foreign Legion soldiers died near the resort of Valfrejus, and another died later in hospital.

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