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4 Skiers Killed In Avalanche Near Jochgrubenkoph In Tirol, Austria (UPDATED)

Tyrol, Austria – On Wednesday, March 15, 2017 an group of eight ski tourers from Switzerland were involved in a large avalanche near Jochgrubenkoph (2453 meters) southeast of Innsbruck in the Schmirn Valley in the Zillertal Alps of Tirol, Austria.

Avalanche Debris - Pixabay

Avalanche Debris | Stock Image

The avalanche occurred just after noon. Four skiers were caught and buried in the slide. The other four managed to escape the avalanche. Rescuers responded to the scene within roughly 15 minutes. Three of the skiers were located, but did not survive. The 4th person was found at 17:30.

The avalanche struck at 2453 meters on a north aspect that measured up to 40 degrees. It is initially reported as 700 meters long and the debris measures over 2 meters high (ORF.at). Lawine.Tirol.gv.at rated the avalanche danger as 2/5 above 2200 meters and 1/5 below 2200 meters. Photos of the avalanche can be seen at Heute.at.

We will update this post when more information is available.

UPDATE 3/15:

  • Tirol.ORF.at reports that three of the victims were buried approximately 8 meters deep. The final person was found around 17:30 and was buried 12 meters deep.
  • TT.com reports that they all had the proper equipment.
  • NZZ.ch notes that the victims were all from Switzerland and ages 52 to 75 . years old.

UPDATE 3/16:

  • Lawinenwarndienst.blogspot.com posted detailed information including photos, avalanche forecasts, and snow profiles. They note that the victims were buried 3 to 12 meters deep. The slide went on weak layers near the ground.
  • Lawis.at notes that the slide occurred at 12:30 on 2017-03-15 at a lat/long of 47.0919° N / 11.6096° E. This is a 38 degree north facing slope at 2350 meters. The size 4 slab avalanche was 1500 meters wide, 500 meters long, and 100 cm deep. The avalanche danger wa rated 2/5. Four people were caught, buried, and killed.
  • Mountain Rescue Tyrol (@BergrettungTirol) posted more photos of the slide and the rescue on Facebook.

UPDATED 3/20:

  • According to News.at an investigation will be conducted against the Swiss mountain guide for gross negligent killing.

UPDATED 3/21:

  • According to Bluewin.ch and NZZ.ch, the mountain guide was found guilty for gross negligent killing on Monday, 3/20.


Read more about the avalanche near Jochgrubenkoph in Tirol, Austria from the following sources:

Information in this post was found using Google Translate. There may be errors in this information. Please use the sources listed above to verify all facts.