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Another professional dies in avalanche
Saturday March 20, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

An Austrian ski instructor/mountain guide was caught. He is the latest in a growing list of experienced professionals to die this winter. In total 33 people have died in Austria, well above the annual average.

In the latest incident the guide, who was in his 40's, was with 2 clients in the Obertauern region. 

He skied a slope to test if it was safe and triggered the slide.

It was a big avalanche and rescue services say it was 300m across and 600m long.

His body was found under 3m of snow.

Rescuers with dogs were flown in by helicopter.

A woman died in the area in an avalanche just a few days earlier.

She apparently had a transceiver but it was in her rucksack and she had not turned it on.

The rescue services took over an hour to find her body.

The warning scaleThe warning scaleThere is a warning level of 4, on a scale of 5, in some parts of Austria as recent snowfall has been followed by warm weather.

This makes the new snow heavy and thus prone to slide.

The authorities are urging people to be especially cautious at the moment.

It is the beginning of the ski touring season so more people are out in the off piste areas.

The death of the mountain guide once again raises the question of why so many experienced professionals are dieing this winter. 

We have raised the issue already here on PlanetSKI and heard from our off piste safety expert, Nick Parks, about the development.

On average in Austria 22 people die in avalanches.

This year it is 33 and there is still around 6 weeks of the skiing season left.

Separately we have heard from a PlanetSKI reporter in Spain that 1 person has died and 2 have been seriously injured in an avalanche incident near the ski resort of Candanchú.

It hit 2 groups; a party of ski tourers and some climbers.

The man who was killed is 7th person to have died and the Spanish authorities say the larger than usual number is due to the high levels of snow this winter.

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