Death toll rises as heavy snowfall hits Europe

The death toll from severe weather in Europe has risen to at least 17 as heavy snowfall continued to cause problems in Austria and southern Germany.

Austrian police said that a 16-year-old boy from Australia was killed in an avalanche in St Anton am Arlberg as he was skiing with his family on Wednesday.

In neighbouring Slovakia, the mountain rescue service said a 37-year-old man was killed by an avalanche in the Mala Fatra mountains.

A seven-year-old child was killed in Aying, near Munich, by a falling tree which was reportedly weighed down by snow.

A woman makes her way on a bicycle through heavy snow in Munich (Matthias Schrader/AP)

That brought to at least 17 the number of weather-related deaths reported in Europe over the past week.

Several railway lines in the Alps were closed because of the snow, lorries and cars got stuck for hours on a highway in south-western Germany and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

Roads into several places were closed although Galtuer in western Austria, where a massive avalanche in 1999 killed 31 people, was reachable again on Thursday after being cut off.

The Austrian minister responsible for tourism, Elisabeth Koestinger, said that “in most skiing areas, there is no reason for concern at present if people keep to the rules and don’t leave the secured slopes”.

A snow plough train stands at the station during heavy snow in Miesbach, Germany (Matthias Schrader/AP)

Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported that the weather was expected to calm on Friday but further heavy snow could be expected on Sunday.

In the Czech Republic, around 9,000 households were without electricity on Thursday after heavy snow in regions bordering Germany and Austria.

On Norway’s Arctic Svalbard islands, more than 100 people were evacuated as a precaution because of a storm and the risk of avalanches. The Svalbard archipelago is 500 miles north of Norway’s mainland.

Norwegian news agency NTB said 29 dwellings at the foot of the Sukkertoppen mountain were evacuated, and a school, kindergartens, a sports facility and public library closed. In the north of mainland Norway, authorities warned of a risk of avalanches.

The Swedish Meteorological Institute on Thursday sent out warnings for a storm and heavy snowfalls over northern Sweden.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Met Éireann ‘helped to create sense of crisis’

Death toll from Indonesia floods rises

Latest: Unsettled weather continues for bank holiday weekend

Bank holiday weather warnings for 16 counties

More in this Section

New Kazakh president sworn in after long-time leader resigns

Beware of queen bees under your feet, say scientists

Brexit: What they said then and now

Katie Price due in court to face charges of shouting abuse at school


Lifestyle

Learning Points: Game, set, and match for toxic masculinity?

A Question of Taste: Derek Burke

Double act on a one-woman play

The early career and defection of Rudolf Nureyev who captivated Paris

More From The Irish Examiner