Alpine Village Covered In Snow After Massive Avalanche

These are the startling images of an Alpine village hit by a massive avalanche where soldiers and firefighters are working hard with locals to clear the huge deluge of snow.

The town of Ramsau am Dachstein, a ski resort in the Austrian state of Styria, was hit by a massive avalanche due to the heavy snowfall accumulating on the nearby mountains earlier this week.

The avalanche, which started on a nearby mountain at an altitude of about 2,600 metres (8,530 feet) hit the town in the valley.

Video Credit: CEN/Bundesheer

It covered a hotel and one apartment complex with snow over three feet high up the walls and was so powerful it overturned several cars and even a bus in a car park.

The man said: “I lay in bed for about an hour, my wife about twenty minutes. Suddenly there was a loud noise.”

The owner of the apartment complex said he was lucky that there were no tourists staying that night and that his bedroom window was facing the town and not the mountain.

Credit: CEN/BFV Liezen-KHD52 S5
Firefighters are cleaning up the snow after the town of Ramsau was hit by an avalanche

The avalanche however smashed the windows of the living room, bathroom, utility room, garage and a ski room, covering the rooms with snow.

Since the avalanche the couple has been working with helpful neighbours and firefighters to try and clear the snow.

The man said: “Today guests should have come. But that is impossible now. We do not know yet when we will be allowed back in our house. We were only allowed in to feed our cats.”

He said that he only positive news so far was that a structural engineer deemed the fabric of the building as being in excellent shape and unaffected by the powerful avalanche.

Much of the visible consequences of the avalanche such as the destroyed buses and cars have already been cleared by the authorities.

The exclusion zone around the affected hotel was lifted after soldiers worked around the clock to shovel out the snow.

The hotel owner said that he would reopen the hotel next week as only one eighth of the building has been affected and there are other dining rooms which can temporarily replace the mountain-facing dining room destroyed by the avalanche.

An army spokesman said that lumber has arrived into the town to close the destroyed windows and doors of the hotel so that normal room temperature can be reached again to help dry the interior.

Credit: CEN/BFV Liezen-KHD52 S5
Firefighters are cleaning up the snow after the town of Ramsau was hit by an avalanche

The spokesman said that today [Thursday] all the snow should be removed from the hotel roof. Also other roofs in town will be checked and cleared from snow if necessary by the 150 soldiers and 15 firefighters in town.

Markus Perner of the Ramsau Tourist Board said that they received more than 200 calls since the avalanche from worried holidaymakers.

He said: “Many ask if holidays are possible with us. Of course you can go to Ramsau, and you can go on holiday here.”

Perner explained that almost all pistes, trails and lifts are open and that only those lifts in the immediate area of the avalanche are not yet open.

Mayor Ernst Fischbacher said that he met with the avalanche warning committee and claimed that no further risk of more avalanches was found after reconnaissance flights.

There have been ten fatalities due to avalanches elsewhere in Austria in the last few days.


Story By: Koen BerghuisSub-EditorJoseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

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