German skiers killed, 1 missing after being buried by avalanche in Austria

Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein Germany Sunday Jan. 13 2019

Due to the danger of an avalanche a mountain pass road is closed in Obermaiselstein Germany Sunday Jan. 13 2019

Meanwhile, three German cross-country skiers died and a fourth was reported missing following an avalanche in western Austria, police said.

The bodies of the men in Austria, ages 57, 36 and 32, were recovered Saturday evening near the ski resort of Lech hours after they were reported missing, according to Sky News.

The deaths of the German skiers came after an Australian teenager died in an avalanche on Wednesday while on a skiing holiday with his family in Austria.

Police in Vorarlberg, the country's westernmost province, said the friends had apparently skied onto a trail that was closed.

The avalanche deaths bring to at least 24 the number of weather-related deaths reported in parts of Europe this month. Although they had avalanche protection equipment and deployed airbags, they were buried by the snow and suffered multiple injuries. They were located with the help of cellphone tracking, according to officials.

Forecasters at Meteo France had warned of a high risk of avalanches in the Savoie and Haute-Savoie regions following fresh overnight snowfall.

They were working with the explosives when the accident happened, local police said following an initial investigation.

On Saturday, authorities in southern Germany and Austria used a break in the weather to clear heavy loads of snow from roofs and roads. Trains between the German cities of Munich and Lindau were travelling more slowly than usual because of a risk of snow-laden trees falling onto the tracks.

In central Switzerland, trains carrying cars through the Furka tunnel were suspended because of an avalanche on a nearby road.