Men were particularly hard hit: 122 men and 21 women lost their lives in the mountains between May and October. The ten-year mean there were 144 people.
Alpine police expected increase in accidents
Overall, according to the alpine police – despite this year’s decline in summer – a general increase in alpine accidents has been recorded. On average, there have been 3,135 alpine accidents in the past ten years. The board of trustees attributed this to the “popularity of mountain sports”. The mountain rescue workers are therefore faced with an “increasing number of missions”.
23 mountain kill in Salzburg
With a share of 36 percent (51 people), Tyrol is particularly hard hit in alpine cases with fatalities, in the state of Salzburg with 23 deaths and Styria with 22. Most accidents happen in July and August, around 200 per week in these months up to 250 people.
Overconfidence and exhaustion are common causes
In the case of fatal accidents, the causes are rare: “Overconfidence or exhaustion, inadequate tours or simple ignorance”. Most often these happen when hiking and mountaineering. 71 fatal accidents were recorded – a total of more than 1,950 people were involved in these disciplines. The ÖKAS evaluated that 40 percent of the hikers made an emergency call unharmed. In 38 percent of the fatal accidents an “internal emergency, that is 27 deaths from cardiovascular failure” was determined.
“Basic physical fitness and personal abilities must be assessed realistically and the weather forecast must be taken seriously,” warned Stefan Hochstaffl, President of the Austrian Mountain Rescue Service. Especially now in autumn with falling temperatures it is important to keep this in mind: “Now in autumn the days are getting shorter”.
Almost 900 mountain bikers have had an accident
The statistics also recorded 891 mountain bikers who had had an accident, with 14 people dying. In the ten-year mean, the number of deaths is significantly lower, with an average of six deaths. Most of the patients who died while mountain biking were caused by cardiovascular problems, the average age here was 61 years. Most cyclists (86 percent) are injured from a fall – across all age groups. Peter Paal, ÖKAS President, draws attention to the challenges of e-biking: “For e-bikers, due to the heavy weight of the bike, they should be careful when descending,” warned Paal.