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Austria avalanche reportedly leaves up to 10 missing, search efforts underway

An avalanche left up to 10 people missing in western Austria on Sunday, according to media reports.

About 200 rescue workers were searching for people feared buried under the snow near the town of Zuers, reports said.

The avalanche occurred at around 3 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. ET) on the 2,700-metre (nearly 9,000-foot) high Trittkopf mountain between Zuers and Lech am Arlberg, and the cascading snow reached as far as nearby ski trails.

The avalanche followed days of snow in the high alpine region and unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day, the Austria Press Agency reported, citing local police. Helicopters and search teams were deployed soon after the avalanche, the agency added.

“We are doing everything we can to rescue the winter sports enthusiasts,” APA quoted an official in the municipality of Lech as saying.

The local mountain rescue service had rated the avalanche danger as “high.”

Officials said one person could be recovered quickly. Searchlights were been set up on the snow mass to continue the search after darkness fell and dogs were being used to try to find the missing.

The resort’s website said that the ski area was closed as of 5 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. ET) on Sunday and that there would be an update on skiing at 8 a.m. (2:00 a.m. ET) on Monday. A spokesperson for the resort could not immediately be reached for comment.

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