February 6, 2016 1:20 pm
Updated: February 6, 2016 1:23 pm

5 dead in ‘massive’ avalanche in Austrian Alps

Rescue teams search for a group of people buried by an avalanche at the Wattener Lizum, Austria, on February 6, 2016. Five skiers from the Czech Republic were killed in an avalanche in the Austrian alps that also engulfed 12 other people, police said. Police gave no immediate details on the condition of the other casualties in the incident, which occurred around midday in a valley south of Innsbruck in western Austria. / AFP / APA / EXPA/JOHANN GRODER / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read EXPA/JOHANN GRODER/AFP/Getty Images)

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BERLIN – Five people were killed Saturday when a “massive” avalanche in the Austrian Alps struck skiers from the Czech Republic taking part in a freeriding camp, police said.

Two other skiers were injured and ten were rescued unharmed, Tirol police spokesman Helmut Schuetz said.

He said the skiers were moving in two separate groups of twelve and five when the avalanche hit them around noon Saturday in the Wattener Lizum region, 30 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of Innsbruck.

READ MORE: Forecasters warn of increased avalanche risk in Alberta’s backcountry

“It was one massive avalanche, several hundred meters (yards) wide and long,” Schuetz told The Associated Press by telephone, adding that the tear point, where the slab of snow broke off from the mountain, was 1 metre (3 feet) deep. “It was many tons of snow.”

Authorities had warned that the risk of avalanches in the region was “considerable,” the third highest on a five-point scale.

Rescue teams airlift the bodies by helicopter of a group of people buried by an avalanche at the Wattener Lizum, Austria, on February 6, 2016.Five skiers from the Czech Republic were killed in an avalanche in the Austrian alps that also engulfed 12 other people, police said. Police gave no immediate details on the condition of the other casualties in the incident, which occurred around midday in a valley south of Innsbruck in western Austria./ AFP / APA / EXPA/JOHANN GRODER / Austria OUT (Photo credit should read EXPA/JOHANN GRODER/AFP/Getty Images)

EXPA/JOHANN GRODER/AFP/Getty Images
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© 2016 The Associated Press

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