In the Alps there were numerous avalanche accidents with many deaths.
Another black February weekend in Austria.
Munich/Salzburg – It's scary, how tragic.
Exactly one year ago, Austria experienced another black weekend with many avalanche deaths.
Avalanches were reported almost every half hour on Saturday, and reports of new fatalities were added almost every hour on Sunday afternoon.
There were eight in total this weekend, eight on the same weekend in 2022.
Shortly after New Year's Eve, Innsbruck chief inspector Stefan Eder (50) reported: "We have had twice as many deaths on the slopes as in previous years.
Since November 1st, 2022, we have had 200 police recordings on the slopes in Austria, including 100 seriously injured and 13 dead
," he said
The number of accidents on the slopes is apparently still in the lower range compared to previous years, but the accidents are more fatal.
Ski deaths in Austria: "People are very irresponsible on the road"
Eder explained the reasons directly: "It's too warm, there's hardly any snow and there aren't any important crash zones.
Skiers fall over the dangerous edge of the piste after making mistakes, overestimating themselves or going too fast.
The artificial snow also makes the slopes rock-hard in the morning.”
But the cases this weekend were often a little different.
In the past few days, the avalanche warning level in Tyrol was 4 on a scale of 5, and not without reason.
"People are very irresponsible on the go and always in the free ski area - they just don't believe it," said a spokesman for the authorities in Vorarlberg.
Eight fatalities in Austria: snowplough driver buried under avalanche
On Friday, a 32-year-old Chinese skier was killed by the masses of snow in the Tyrolean Ötztal when he wanted to shoot freeride videos with two colleagues.
The man was swept away and buried by a 150 meter wide slab of snow.
For him any help came too late.
In the Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg, a missing winter sports enthusiast was searched for on Friday evening after being hit by an avalanche.
The mid-fifties could only be recovered dead late Saturday morning.
On Saturday, a 17-year-old skier from New Zealand died in an avalanche in the Zillertal.
In the Kaunertal, a ski tourer was reported missing on Saturday when his dog returned home alone without his master.
The 62-year-old could only be recovered dead on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, a ski guide (29) and an Austrian guest (33) were found dead in St. Anton am Arlberg.
The two had been missing since Saturday, but could be located by signal – but rescue would have been far too dangerous for the emergency services.
The bodies could only be dug up on Sunday.
The 33-year-old was 4.30 meters below the mass of snow, the 29-year-old 3.40 meters!
A snowplough driver was already hit by an avalanche on Saturday in East Tyrol during clearing work, including a tractor, and was torn 200 meters down.
He was rescued on Sunday.
An avalanche was reported in the Ötztal on Sunday morning in the Geigenkamm area around 10:25 am.
Three winter sports enthusiasts were involved – one of them, 55, was buried.
According to the control center, the person was initially rescued from the masses of snow, reports the ORF, but was then declared dead.
Fatalities were not only recorded in Austria this winter weekend.
A 31-year-old ski tourer from Bavaria was also killed by an avalanche on the Limojoch in South Tyrol.
Tragic, sad days that show once again that caution is definitely preferable to risk in the mountains.
Also because, if the worst comes to the worst, rescue workers endanger their own lives for avalanche victims.