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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Two snowboarders killed in avalanche as extreme weather death toll rises to 21 across Europe

The snowboarders were killed in an avalanche in Bulgaria’s Pirin Mountains yesterday.

Destruction inside the Hotel Saentis on the Schwaegalp in Switzerland
Destruction inside the Hotel Saentis on the Schwaegalp in Switzerland
Image: GIAN EHRENZELLER/PA Images

AT LEAST 21 people have been killed as a result of extreme weather across Europe this month, after four more lives were claimed due to snow yesterday.

The Bulgarian Red Cross said two snowboarders were killed in an avalanche in the southwestern Pirin Mountains yesterday.

A snowplow driver was also killed in Germany yesterday after his vehicle toppled into an icy river, while an electrical worker in Albania suffered a fatal heart attack while repairing damaged power lines.

Police in Lenggries, south of Munich, said the 48-year-old snowplow driver was rescued from the river after several hours but died in a hospital.

Workers at the Hotel Saentis in eastern Switzerland spent Friday shovelling out hip-deep snow after a 300-metre wide avalanche smashed through the hotel’s windows on Thursday afternoon, injuring three people.

Also on Friday, Austrian military helicopters flew 66 German teenagers out of a mountain guest house where they had been stuck for several days.

About 2,000 soldiers and other emergency workers in Albania were assigned to help people trapped by snow and to clear roads to restore access to cutoff villages.

Several towns and cities in southwest Serbia introduced emergency measures, warning of snow piling up on the roads and sealing off mountain villages, Serbian state TV reported.

In neighbouring Montenegro, meteorologist Dragan Buric said the first ten days of January have been among the coldest the country has seen in decades.

“We have snow in January in the capital city [Podgorica] for the first time in nine years,” Buric told Montenegrin state TV.

In Germany and Austria, where heavy snow caused fatal avalanches and major disruptions in the past few days, the situation was easing on Friday.

Airlines cancelled around 120 flights at Frankfurt Airport and 90 at Munich Airport because of concerns about snow.

In the eastern German city of Chemnitz, all burials at the municipal cemetery were called off until Monday because of snow.

In the Austrian city of Salzburg, all parks, public gardens, play areas and cemeteries were closed because of the danger posed by trees cracking under the weight of snow.

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Associated Press

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