Avalanches on slopes – “Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 100 percent safety”


In very rare cases, such as Friday in Hintertux, avalanches occur on open ski slopes. A few years ago, a similar incident even killed one person in Tyrol.

Looking back on last Friday: As reported, a ski instructor (21) with three children between the ages of 10 and 12 was on the open slope 17b in the Hintertux Glacier ski area. Suddenly, an avalanche ten meters wide and thirty meters long descended the slope and hit the ski instructor and one of the children. The Swiss child was partially buried, but the ski instructor was able to dig him out unharmed in a very short time. The German was also unharmed and the track was subsequently closed.

Report to the public prosecutor
“We have reported the incident and a report will subsequently be sent to the public prosecutor’s office,” said Viktor Horvath, head of the Tyrolean Alpine Police. “We are investigating whether there is a first suspicion of a threat to physical safety,” said Hansjörg Mayr, spokesperson for the Innsbruck public prosecutor’s office.

In principle, the local avalanche committees in the Tyrolean ski areas make recommendations on whether or not to open a slope. “The operations manager adheres to this,” says cable car director Andreas Kleinlercher of the Stubai Glacier. In precarious avalanche situations, the committee continuously assesses the current situation.

Swede died in Ischgl in 2012
According to one of the best cable car operators in Tyrol, Reinhard Klier, avalanches on open ski slopes are “absolutely exceptional cases”. However, despite all care, they cannot be completely excluded. In fact, such an accident in Ischgl in 2012 even claimed one life: a Swede (51) was killed. The slope on which the avalanche struck the athlete was not closed. However, the cable car company was not to blame.

The glacier cable car is quiet
“Dealing with natural hazards in Tyrol is a challenge, but we have achieved a very high safety standard. Unfortunately, 100 percent safety does not exist,” says cable car boss Klier.

When asked by the “Krone”, the Zillertaler Gletscherbahn did not comment on Friday’s incident.

Source: Krone


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