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. Six killed in avalanche in Austrian alps: rescuers

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by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) May 3, 2009
Six Czech hikers were killed when they were caught in an avalanche near the ski resort of Soelden in the Austrian Alps, police and rescue services said Sunday.

The avalanche happened at 3,000 metres (9,850 feet), around 500 metres below the summit of Schalfkogel, around 4:15 pm (1415 GMT) on Saturday afternoon.

Mountain rescuers were immediately alerted by witnesses but were unable to get to the scene because of the poor weather.

Rescuers made a fresh attempt by helicopter on Sunday morning and were able to recover the six bodies, they told the Austrian news agency APA.

The Czech hikers had set out from the mountain refuge at Hochwilderhaus for Schalfkogel, which is made up of glaciers covered with snow, where there was a heightened risk of avalanches on Saturday after fresh snowfall.

Only one member of the party, a 45-year-old man, stayed behind in the refuge. He identified the bodies of his friends for police on Sunday morning.

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