Teenage Australian boy killed in Austrian avalanche while skiing with family

The site of the avalanche tragedy in Austria

Arlberg Health Australian teenager killed in avalanche

An Australian teenager has tragically been killed by an avalanche while skiing in Austria.

In Slovakia, the mountain rescue service said a 37-year-old man was killed by an avalanche in the Mala Fatra mountains, and a seven-year-old child was killed in Aying, near Munich, by a tree that fell under the weight of snow.

Before emergency crews could reach the family an avalanche was triggered, covering Max and his mother in more than two metres of snow.

The family issued a call for help after running into trouble while skiing off-piste near the St Anton resort in Tyrol, a police spokesman said late on Wednesday. It covered the mother and her 16-year-old son.

Rescuers retrieved the boy's body 20 minutes later, but unfortunately the teenager could not be revived. The second week of January has brought heavy snow to much of continental Europe whilst the United Kingdom remains relatively mild for the time of year.

The teenager was a student at Sydney's International Grammar School which has offered support to his family and fellow students. A snow shelf reportedly collapsed and buried the 16-year-old, who was holidaying with family.

"The school will be open tomorrow and next week, and senior staff, counsellors and I will be there to assist should you require support".

An Australian teenager died during a skiing tragedy in Austria
An Australian teenager died during a skiing tragedy in Austria

At least 17 people have died in weather-related events over the past week.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is aware of reports of an Australian's death in the nation.

The avalanche happened while they were waiting for rescuers.

The highest red warnings are in place in Germany and Austria with more heavy snow expected to fall in the coming days. Snow was causing problems in other parts of Europe, even in Norway's Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

Roads into several places were closed - although Galtuer in western Austria, where a massive avalanche in 1999 killed 31 people, was reachable again on Thursday after being cut off.

Several railway lines in the Alps were closed because of the snow, and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

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