Avalanche in Austria near Swiss border kills five

It was a dangerous day in the Alps after heavy snowfall was followed by warmer weather. PHOTO: AFP

VIENNA (REUTERS) - An avalanche in an area of Austria bordering Switzerland has killed five people on an unusually dangerous day in the Alps after heavy snowfall followed by warmer weather, spokespeople for rescue services said on Friday (Feb 4).

A separate avalanche earlier on Friday swept down a ski piste at the popular resort of Soelden, where five people had so far been rescued alive, said Patrick Ortler, supervisor of the emergency services control centre in the province of Tyrol where both avalanches happened.

One further person caught in the deadly avalanche near the town of Spiss on the border with Switzerland suffered minor injuries, and rescue helicopters from Switzerland and Austria were deployed, he added.

It was not immediately clear what activity the avalanche victims in Spiss were involved in or where they were from, Ortler said.

Ortler initially put the death toll at four with one person missing.

Another supervisor at the control centre, Andreas Baur, later said the missing person had died.

The total number of people involved was six including the slightly injured person.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.