Aussie Teen Dies in Austrian Avalanche in Front of Parents

By Mimi Nguyen-ly

An Australian teenager is dead after being trapped under six feet of snow in an avalanche that tragically ended a family holiday to the Austrian Alps in St. Anton am Arlberg, on Jan. 10.

Max Meyer became trapped when a snow shelf collapsed and buried him in front of his parents and brother, according to local reports.

Despite frantic efforts his family members could not save Max soon enough because they did not have a shovel or emergency supplies. Rescuers could only retrieve Meyer’s body about 20 minutes later.

Police said the family had left their ski resort at around 4.40 p.m. local time. The family was in untracked and steep terrain when Meyer became trapped by the avalanche. His mother had also been trapped but managed to free herself in time, according to reports.

The principal of Sydney’s International Grammar School emailed parents and students about Meyer’s death.

Australian Teen Killed In Avalanche

An Australian teenager has tragically been killed by an avalanche while skiing in Austria. ????A snow shelf reportedly collapsed and buried the 16-year-old, who was holidaying with family.

Sunrise 发布于 2019年1月10日周四

“It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you that one of our students has died in an avalanche while skiing with his family,” principal Shauna Colnan said in an email to parents dated Jan. 10, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. “The school will be open tomorrow and next week, and senior staff, counselors and I will be there to assist should you require support.”

“Max Meyer was about to enter Year 11, and his life has been tragically cut short,” Colnan added, according to the ABC. “I have spoken with Max’s father today and have extended my deepest condolences on behalf of the IGS school community, and offered the family all of our support. We will continue to support Max’s family through the coming days and beyond.”

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was aware of an Australian citizen’s death in Austria.

“The department stands ready to provide consular assistance to the family of the victim in accordance with the Consular Services Charter,” it said in a statement dated Jan. 11, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

Austria Blanketed in Deep Snow

There have been at least 16 weather-related deaths reported in Europe in the past week.  In neighboring Slovakia, the mountain rescue service said a Slovak man, 37, died from an avalanche in the Mala Fatra mountains.

Six German teenagers fortunately emerged alive from an avalanche that engulfed them at the Wildkogel resort in Austria’s Salzburg province.

Heavy snowfall continued on Jan. 10 in parts of Austria and southern Germany with several places cut off and the bad weather is expected to persist. Snow was causing problems in other parts of Europe, even in Norway’s Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

Several railway lines in the Alps were closed because of the snow, trucks and cars got stuck for hours on a highway in southwestern Germany and schools were closed in parts of Bavaria.

Roads into several places were closed—although Galtuer in western Austria, where a massive avalanche in 1999 killed 31 people, opened again on Jan. 10 after being cut off.

The Austrian minister responsible for tourism, Elisabeth Koestinger, said in most skiing areas, “there is no reason for concern at present, if people keep to the rules and don’t leave the secured slopes,” the ABC reported.

Reuters and AAP contributed to this report