Nine die in avalanches in Italy and Austria ahead of Alps school holiday rush

Authorities urged people to be cautious on the Alps and set a level four warning Credit: (Stock picture)

Nine people were killed in avalanches in Austria and Italy over the past weekend ahead of the expected influx of tourists and families arriving during the school holidays.

Some people died after skiing in unmarked areas of the Alps, despite warnings of elevated avalanche risk, police said.

On Sunday, the body of a snow plough driver was found in East Tirol, Austria, after being swept away.

In Oetztal a 32-year-old Chinese skier died, while in Zillertal a 17-year old boy from New Zealand was buried.

A 55-year-old German man who had been missing since Friday was found dead in Kleinwalsertal.

More than a dozen avalanches were reported in the Tirol region of Austria alone.

Authorities urged people to be cautious and set a level four warning, from a scale of five.

A 31-year-old German woman was killed on Saturday in the South Tirol region of Italy when a snow mass broke loose at 2,200 meters near the Limo Pass, the dpa news agency reported.

75 mile per hour winds battered the slopes as a rescue team recovered her body.

Another woman skiing with her was freed from the snow unharmed.

Other victims Saturday included a 29-year-old ski guide and his 33-year-old male guest.

The pair were skiing away from prepared runs when a snowboarder set off an avalanche above them in St. Anton in Austria.

In Kaunertal a 62-year old man was killed by another deluge of snow.

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