Avalanches claim three lives, rescuers injured
Preddvor, 13 February - Two avalanches were triggered in the area of Mt Storžič (2,132 metres) in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps mountain range on Saturday, burying four climbers. Three died at the scene and one sustained severe injuries, the Administration for Civil Protection and Disatser Relief says on its website. Two rescuers were also injured.
The first avalanche happened at 10:40am and buried two climbers on their way to Mt Storžič. Both sustained injuries so severe that they died on the scene.
Robert Kralj, the head of the police mountain unit, told the press that the avalanche also buried two other climbers up to their waist but the pair was not injured. They called for help.
As soon as they dug themselves out they started rescue procedures themselves, added Sašo Rožič from the Tržič mountain rescue service.
During the rescue operation involving mountain rescuers, police, army and a medical team, another avalanche was triggered about three hours later higher up the mountain, engulfing two other climbers.
One of them died at the scene, while the other sustained serious injuries.
Rescuers were informed of the new avalanche via radio. While trying to escape the second avalanche, two of the rescuers were injured. A rescuer from the medical team sustained severe injuries.
The three victims and the two injured were brought to the valley by an army helicopter.
Rožič said 24 rescuers and three avalanche rescue dogs had been involved in the rescue operation. Two army and police helicopters were also activated. Rožič could not say whether the injured and deceased had been experienced climbers or not, but they were the only climbers in the area today, according to official information.
According to Primorski Dnevnik, a Slovenian skier was also killed today in an avalanche in Sella Nevea, Friuli Venezia Giulia, on the Italian side of Mt Kanin. Two other Slovenians who were with him were not injured.
The Kranj police warned against hiking and climbing in the mountains in the current extreme weather conditions.
The danger of avalanches at altitudes of up to 1,800 metres is level three, considerable, while at higher altitudes it is high, level four. Temperatures in the mountains are at around -20 degrees Celsius with strong northerly and north-easterly winds.