Around 10 people buried in Austrian avalanche

The avalanche took place in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area on Sunday

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Two people remained unaccounted for after an avalanche in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area in western Austria on Sunday that initially prompted a search for 10 people feared buried, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported.

The avalanche occurred at about 3 p.m. (1400 GMT), APA said, adding that several helicopters and search teams deployed soon afterwards.

The suspicion that 10 people were buried by the avalanche was based on a skier's video that showed "how the skiers come into contact with the avalanche", APA quoted Hermann Fercher of the Lech/Zuers tourist office as saying.

One of those rescued was injured and flown to a hospital in Innsbruck. Another was hurt but was able to free himself and go to another hospital, regional security councillor Christian Gantner told APA.

Six other people spotted in the video were uninjured.

The fate of the final two was unknown, APA reported.

The avalanche occurred at about 3PM (@PM GMT), APA said, adding that several helicopters and search teams deployed soon afterwards.

Rescue workers stand near the site where an avalanche buried 10 skiers in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area on Arlberg, Austria
Rescue workers stand near the site where an avalanche buried 10 skiers in the Lech/Zuers free skiing area on Arlberg, Austria

"We are doing everything we can to rescue the winter sports enthusiasts," APA quoted the municipality of Lech as saying.

Some 100 people were involved in the search, with rescuers requesting headlamps so that they can continue the search in the dark, APA added.

Lech/Zuers markets itself as "one of the best ski areas in the world" and part of the cradle of Alpine skiing.

The resort's website said that the ski area was closed as of 5PM (4PM GMT) on Sunday and that there would be an update on skiing at 8AM (7AM GMT) on Monday. A spokesperson for the resort could not immediately be reached for comment.