Alpine deaths spark call for caution
7 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch motorists and tourism association ANWB has urged caution among winter holidaymakers after a day of tragedy in the European alpine region.
7 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch motorists and tourism association ANWB has urged caution among winter holidaymakers after a day of tragedy in the European alpine region.
Three deaths were reported on Sunday in Austria, two in Switzerland, two in France and one in Germany. The skiers and snowboarders were killed after causing avalanches by skiing off the groomed pistes.
Snowstorms in Romania also led to three deaths, while a 13-year-old German snowboarder was killed on Saturday near Salzburg after his head smashed against a tree. Many other skiers were rescued or narrowly escaped avalanches over the weekend.
Alpine rescue services said on Sunday the region had become a "downright cemetery in the snow" with so many deaths on one day, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
Despite the fact that no Dutch nationals were among the victims, the ANWB said it was alarmed by the number of deaths. Spokesman Ad Vonk warned that heading off the pistes is asking for problems, pointing out the risk of avalanches and crevasses.
"On a piste, you know that you can still ski okay a couple of hundred metres further down. But if you have no idea what's coming, it is perilous," he told the newspaper.
Three Dutch snowboarders were rescued after becoming stuck in deep snow at Flachau, Austria, on Friday. The operation took four hours and was fraught with danger due to the risk of avalanches.
The start of the spring holiday break this weekend saw many Dutch nationals head off to the snow and the stream of holidaymakers from Germany and the Netherlands led to long traffic delays on Austrian motorways on Saturday. Many smaller roads had been closed due to the danger of avalanches.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news