VIENNA: Nine people died in three days from more than 100 avalanches rolling over Austria, authorities said on Sunday.
Most of the avalanches hit western Tyrol and five people were killed on Friday alone, rescue services said.
Police said the incident had claimed the lives of a group of Swedish skiers going off-piste with a mountain guide in the area around Ischgl, near the Swiss border.
The monitor and four of the group were wiped out with only one group member alive. He managed to call for help and was flown over by helicopter.
Also Friday, a 60-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife were drowned while cross-country skiing near the village of Auffach, Tyrol police said.
A 58-year-old Austrian was killed by an avalanche in Schirmn near Innsbruck on Saturday, injuring four others.
Further west, a 43-year-old skilled skier was killed in the popular Vorarlberg region when Austria saw exceptional amounts of snow fall over the weekend.
Five winter sports enthusiasts were covered by snow in the large seaside resort of Sölden, but they have all been rescued.
“Some 100 avalanche-like incidents have taken place in the past three days, requiring 70 interventions,” the Tire regional authorities said on Sunday, calling the situation “unprecedented” and warning more would follow.
In recent years, avalanches in Austria have claimed about 20 lives a year, and fewer in the past two years after the pandemic dramatically reduced the number of skiers.