Dozen buried alive in Austrian avalanche

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The Independent Online

An avalanche south of Salzburg has buried between 12 and 14 people, killing at least seven, rescue officials said.

An avalanche south of Salzburg has buried between 12 and 14 people, killing at least seven, rescue officials said.

The Austrian Red Cross said seven bodies had been recovered a little more than an hour after the avalanche hit. Two victims were found alive - one with serious injuries, the other only slightly hurt. The search continued for the others

Although original reports said all those buried were probably Germans, the Austria Press Agency later said the nationalities of the victims were unclear. The snow slide, about 150 yards wide and originating away from prepared slopes, occurred after rain in the morning, followed by sunshine.

Six helicopters were assisting rescue crews looking for the victims in the Zell am See area, about 60 kilometers (30 miles) south of Salzburg. Specially trained avalanche dogs that can sniff out people buried in the snow also were being used. Coordination of the search was being conducted from the village of Niedersill, just southwest of Zell am See.

It was the fourth major deadly avalanche in Austria in a little more than a year.

Two snow slides on Feb. 23, 1999 in the region of Galtuer, in Tyrol, killed 38 people. Then, in December, two more avalanches in Tyrolean skiing areas left an additional 11 people dead.

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