Avalanche risk high in Alps, several dead in accidents

Photo: AP

Authorities in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland warned Monday that the risk for avalanches in the northern Alps remains high after several people died in weather-related incidents.

A 44-year-old man died in Wackersberg in Bavaria when he was hit by tree branches brought down by heavy snow, police said.

Authorities also said Monday that a woman who was buried by an avalanche last week in the Uri canton (state) of Switzerland died of her injuries Saturday.

Also on the weekend, three skiers in Austria were killed by avalanches and one woman in Bavaria died in a weather-related incident.

Some 40 rescuers with dogs are still searching for two snowshoers missing near Hohenberg in Lower Austria, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Due to the high risk of avalanches, the Hochkar alpine road and the entire Hochkar skiing region in Lower Austria was closed. Residents and visitors were asked to leave the region by the end of the day.

In Bavaria, authorities had to close roads and some train lines due to heavy snowfall and in some parts of southern Bavaria and the Steiermark region in Austria, schools were closed Monday because of the weather conditions.

Police in Norway on Monday released the names of four skiers — a 29-year Swedish woman and three Finns, aged 29, 32 and 36 — who are presumed dead after a 300-meter (990-foot) -wide avalanche was reported Wednesday in Tamok valley, near the northern city of Tromsoe.

Heavy snowfall and poor visibility had hampered rescue efforts in the past days.

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