Dutch snowboarders caught in Austrian avalanche; one killed

An avalanche in progress
An avalanche in progress. (dahu1 / Wikimedia Commons)

A group of eight snowboarders, most of whom Dutch, were caught in an avalanche near the Austrian village of Obergurgl on Saturday. A 22-year-old man from 's-Gravenzande was killed and two others were hospitalized. Others were unharmed and managed to contact the emergency services, AD reports.

The snowboarders were surprised by the avalanche at an altitude of some 3 thousand meters. They were in Ferwaltal, not far from the ski resort in Obergurgl, Tyrol and were on the way to the top with so-called split-boards. 

The man who was killed was a ski instructor and tour skier. He came from Zuid-Holland, but lived in Munich. Emergency services only managed to find and remove the young man from the snow an hour after the avalanche hit. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. 

According to the Austrian police, a British person was also killed in the avalanche. It is not clear whether he was part of the Dutch group of snowboarders. 

AD reports that the group was made up of experienced skiers. According to Bert Romani of the Dutch ski association NSV, split boards aren't equipment used by amatuers. WePowder, a forum for snowboarders, also states that the group was headed by two famous and experieneced snowboard guides - Irian van Helfteren and Bas Elshorst. Both have lived in Austria for years and are in possession of several official diplomas.