At least 10 people buried after avalanche at popular ski resort
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Andy Teasdale / Ian Dagnall Commercial Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
At least 10 people have been buried following an avalanche at the popular Lech Zürs ski resort in the Arlberg region of Austria.
A statement from the state-run Austrian Press Agency (APA) said that one person had been rescued by authorities.
The avalanche occurred around 3pm local time (2pm GMT) today (25 December) on the nearly 9,000ft Trittkopf mountain.
Authorities had classed the avalanche risk as 'high' following several days of snow and unusually warm weather on Christmas Day.
Several helicopters and search teams were deployed shortly after the incident.
Around 200 people were involved in the search, with rescuers requesting head torches so they could continue in the dark. Dogs were also used to help find the missing people.
The municipality of Lech told APA: "We are doing everything we can to rescue the winter sports enthusiasts."
Lech Zürs tourism director Hermann Fercher added that the search would continue 'all night if we have to'.
A spokesperson for the Lech Zürs ski resort told UNILAD: "On Sunday afternoon at around 14:55, a large avalanche broke loose in the Lech Zürs ski area and buried up to 10 people near the Trittkopf uphillstation.
"A short time later, one person was rescued alive and brought to hospital. A large rescue operation with almost 200 emergency personnel from various blue-light organisations is currently underway: several helicopters from Vorarlberg and Tyrol, mountain rescue teams with avalanche dogs and crisis intervention teams are on the scene of the accident.
"People who are missing relatives as well as eyewitnesses are asked to contact the Lech police station."
They added in an update at around 8.30pm on Sunday: "In the meantime, 8 of ten people have been identified and are alive.
"These are people from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the USA, Croatia and Bosnia. 2 people are still missing, it is assumed that they are under the avalanche.
"The search operation will continue until the persons have been secured."
The destination was a favourite of Princess Diana's, with scenes from the latest season of The Crown taking place there.
The Dutch royal family and Monaco's Princess Caroline of Hanover are also said to be frequent visitors.
The resort's website describes it as 'Austria's largest connected ski area and the fifth largest in the world' and 'one of the best ski areas in the world'.
Back in February, nine people were killed in three days as 100 avalanches hit Austria.
Most of them occurred in the western Tyrol region, with authorities describing the situation as 'unprecedented'.
Emergency services were called to intervene on 70 occasions.
Among those who tragically died were four Swedish skiers and their guide who were skiing off piste around the Ischgl resort; a 60-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife skiing near Auffach; a 58-year-old Austrian man who died near Schirmn; and a 43-year-old skier who died in the Vorarlberg region.
Avalanches claim around 20 lives each year in Austria, although this figure was lower during the Covid-19 pandemic.