Off Piste Avalanche Kills Spanish Woman Near Birgitzköpfl Hut In Stubai Alps Southwest Of Innsbruck, Austria
Tirol, Austria – At 12:41 on Sunday, March 6, 2016 a group of four snowboarders and skiers triggered an avalanche on a 35-degree off piste slope south of the Birgitzköpfl Hut near the Axamer Lizum ski area in the northern Stubai Alps southwest of Innsbruck in Tirol, Austria. The group skied the slope after watching several other parties ski the same slope. Unfortunately, they triggered an avalanche and a 33-year-old Spanish snowboarder was killed.
The avalanche broke above the group and caught all four individuals – including the 33-year-old Spanish woman who was living in Innsbruck, her Irish boyfriend, and their two friends from Poland and Bulgaria. The Spanish woman was completely buried. Another woman was buried with only her hand and head out of the snow.
Witnesses saw the accident and notified authorities of the incident. Mountain rescue Axams, alpine police, dog units and rescue helicopter responded to the scene. The woman who was partially buried was dug out quickly. It took 10 minutes to dig the Spanish woman out of the snow. Resuscitation efforts were attempted for approximately half an hour, but they were unsuccessful.
Update 3/8: The Lawinenwarndienst Tirol Avalanche Report published on March 8, 2016 has further details about the avalanche near Birgitzköpfl on the Nockspitz. The slab avalanche occurred on a 44 degree slope on a WNW aspect at 2020 meters. It measured 40 meters wide by 300 meters long and 40 centimeters deep. EAWS reports the coordinates as 47.1919 ° N / 11.3167 ° E . The avalanche danger at the time was considerable. See photos here.