After the avalanche in the Austrian ski area Lech Zürs am Arlberg, the last two missing winter sports enthusiasts were rescued on Monday morning after a large-scale search operation. According to the current state of knowledge, it can be assumed that no one is missing, the police said on Monday night.
The avalanche search dogs and helicopters were used to search for the victims. According to the community, almost 200 helpers were on duty in the evening, who took part in the search on the avalanche cone. In order to be able to continue the search for the buried people in the dark, searchlights were also requested.
A lot of snow had fallen in the high alpine terrain in the past few days. According to the police, spring-like conditions prevailed in the Arlberg ski area on Sunday. At the same time, according to the avalanche warning service, the avalanche danger was considerable. According to the Austrian news agency APA, the avalanche went off around 3 p.m. in the area of the 2,720-meter-high Trittkopf, foothills even reached the ski slope.
It is extremely rare for avalanches to reach slopes that are considered safe, but it cannot be ruled out. Three years ago, a woman and two seven-year-old girls died in South Tyrol when a huge slab of snow broke loose at an altitude of 3,000 meters in Schnalstal and thundered down onto the slope. In Andermatt, Switzerland, there was also an incident in December 2019 in which masses of snow buried six skiers on the piste. But the misfortune ended lightly.
Surviving in an avalanche is actually only possible for a short period of time. Victims suffocate under the packed snow or succumb to their injuries. In individual cases, however, victims are lucky and have a cavity in front of their face that allows them to breathe. Under these circumstances, winter sports enthusiasts were rescued alive even after several hours.