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Brit among four dead in Italian avalanches

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Brit among four dead in Italian avalanches
Some slopes in the Dolomites were closed at the weekend due to avalanches. Dolomites photo: Shutterstock
10:20 CET+01:00
Two foreigners, including a British and a Dutch man, and two Italians died in avalanches in northern Italy over the weekend, after days of heavy snowfall, national media reported.

A British skier was killed in Argentera, a resort in north-west Italy, close to the French border. The 48-year-old man from London was off-piste skiing with a group of friends when an avalanche hit.

The group were wearing airbags to help them escape, but the man lost consciousness when the force of the avalanche threw him against a tree, La Stampa reported.

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old Dutch man was killed on the slopes of the Averau mountain in the Dolomites on Saturday, while skiing with his family.

The group were hit by an avalanche said to be 500m by 200m and over two metres deep in parts, Corriere della Sera reported.

Despite helicopters bringing rescuers and a dog search team to the area, it was almost four hours before the skier was found. He had not been wearing an electronic tag, used by skiers to be found in avalanches, and was buried under two metres of snow.

Slopes in the nearby Faloria area were closed on Saturday morning, while an off-piste skier was saved from a nearby avalanche the same day.

Two Italians were also killed over the weekend, in separate incidents in the mountains of Trentino. A 17-year-old boy from Lombardy died after being hit by an avalanche while skiing off-piste in the Castello Tesino area.

In the Valsugana area a group of five snowboarders were hit by an avalanche, in which a 40-year-old man from Vicenza was killed. He was found by rescue dogs under a metre and a half of snow.

The deaths have prompted authorities to raise the avalanche risk and warn skiers and snowboarders to avoid steep slopes.

Elsewhere in northern Italy three pensioners died while shovelling heavy snow which fell last week. The snowfall has prompted electricity outages, closed schools and disrupted transport across parts of northern and central Italy.

READ MORE: Three pensioners die in Italy snow

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