Avalanche in Austria leaves 2 missing, fewer than feared as search efforts continue – Canada

Rescue workers were searching for two missing people after an avalanche swept across ski trails in western Austria on Sunday, the German press agency (dpa) reported.

Initially, up to 10 people were feared missing based on video from a witness, but eight of them had been identified and were no longer feared buried, dpa reported, citing a rescue team spokesperson.

About 200 rescue workers were searching the avalanche site near the town of Zuers.

The avalanche occurred at around 3 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) on the 2,700-metre-high (nearly 9,000-foot) Trittkopf mountain between Zuers and Lech am Arlberg, and the cascading snow reached as far as nearby ski trails.

The avalanche followed days of snow in the high alpine region and unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day, the Austria Press Agency reported, citing local police. Helicopters and search teams were deployed soon after the avalanche, the agency added.

“We are doing everything we can to rescue the winter sports enthusiasts,” APA quoted an official in the municipality of Lech as saying.

The local mountain rescue service had rated the avalanche danger as “high.”

Officials said one person could be recovered quickly. Searchlights were been set up on the snow mass to continue the search after darkness fell and dogs were being used to try to find the missing.

The resort’s website said that the ski area was closed as of 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) on Sunday and there would be an update on skiing at 8 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) on Monday. A spokesperson for the resort could not immediately be reached for comment.

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