Two Dead After Group Of Ski Tourers Were Caught In Avalanche Near Obergurgl, Austria
Ötztal Alps, Austria – Around 1PM on Saturday, November 26, 2016 four members from a group of ten ski tourers were buried in an avalanche in the Verwall Valley (Ferwalltal) in the Southern Ötztal Alps near the village of Obergurgl in the municipality of Sölden in Tyrol, Austria near the Austrian/Italian border.
The avalanche was triggered while the group was ascending a slope. Two members of the party who were uninjured in the incident were able to alert authorities. Most of skiers were able to free themselves from the avalanche. One Dutch skier was killed and two or three others were injured and taken by helicopter to Innsbruck. It is now being reported that a 40-year-old British skier died at the hospital in Innsbruck. One 18-year-old Dutchman is still in the hospital.
The avalanche was triggered at approximately 2700. Some initial reports say that it 1000 meters long and 600 to 800 meters wide. LawinenWarnDienst.BlogSpot.co.at said that it was “triggered in the area where most of the snow fell during the last week.” For full analysis and photos of the area visit LawinenWarnDienst.Blogspot.co.
At this point details are relatively vague and all information in this post was taken from sources via Google Translate. Avalanche experts will join the alpine police to compile more official details on November 27. They were published on LawinenWarnDienst.Blogspot.co on November 28.
We will try to update this post as more information becomes available.
- WePowder.nl reports say that the group was led by snowboard guides Irian Van Helfteren and Bas Elhorst.
- Telegraaf.nl identified the first avalanche victim as 22-year-old Bart Bongaards. Bongaards was a ski instructor who lived in Munich, Germany. He was under the snow for over an hour.
- RTLNieuws.nl, NOS.nl, and Telegraapnl reports that a second victim, a 40-year-old British skier, died in the hospital in Innsbruck as the result of injuries sustained in the avalanche.
- This post has been updated based on the official analysis from LawinenWarnDienst.Blogspot.co.at published on 11/28.
- Lawis.at (2016-11-26 12:40) published that the avalanche occurred on a NW aspect on a 43 degree slope at approximately 3000 meters. It was a size 3 slab avalanche that was 900 meters long, 500 meters wide, and 100 centimeters deep. You can find a link to the snow profile here.
- According to IBT.com, the 10-person group consisted on 8 Dutch, 1 Briton, and 1 Belgian. It is thought that the group triggered the avalanche that buried four people. An 18-year-old Dutchman is still in critical condition at the hospital.
This map shows the general area where the incident occurred:
This is the second avalanche accident in Austria this season. A skier died on October 16 in the Zillertal Alps.