A 39-year-old ski mountaineer from the greater Munich area died in an avalanche on Tuesday afternoon at the Hochkalter (2,607 meters) in Bavaria’s borderland with the Steinernen Meer in Salzburg. A helicopter crew from Heli Austria from Saalbach (Pinzgau) also took part in the search and rescue operation.
The accident happened at the upper edge of the Hocheiskares on the northwest side of the Hocheisspitze in the Hochkalter area. The Munich was behind a 54-year-old touring partner. At around 3 p.m., one of the two released a huge slab of snow in a crossing – 150 meters wide and 200 meters long. According to the alpine police, the snow depth at the demolition edge is up to one meter.
Huge avalanche cone in steep terrain
The older ski mountaineer was not swept away – according to the emergency services “as if by a miracle” – while the massive snow masses washed the other man down around 400 meters over steep rocky terrain into the Hintereiskar.
The 54-year-old eyewitness immediately made an emergency call with his mobile phone, which initially reached an Austrian control center. These alerted the Bavarian emergency services and the crew of the Austrian emergency doctor helicopter “Martin 6” from Saalbach-Hinterglemm (Pinzgau), which is currently in the airspace of Upper Bavaria.
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“Comrade help in this case has no chance”
For the time being, the uninjured ski mountaineer had to look after his buried comrade alone. On the reliable avalanche cone, he tried to use his avalanche transceiver to receive a radio signal from the casualty, locate him and then probe. The masses of snow now extend around 600 meters down the valley through a steep gully. Due to the terrain, the first responders hardly had a chance of a search success from the outset, according to emergency services.
The buried person was found after 45 minutes
After the approach, the Salzburg rescue planes immediately brought a mountain rescuer from Ramsau near Berchtesgaden and a search dog team onto the avalanche. A good half hour after the avalanche, the rescuers began their search. After a few minutes, the avalanche dog found the spot where the victim was buried. The mountain rescuers started the fine search with avalanche transceivers and were able to track down the man at around 3.48 p.m. with the rod probe and then within a few minutes uncover the head, which was buried about one meter deep.
In the meantime, the crew of the Bavarian police helicopter “Edelweiß 4” had also arrived. Two police mountain guides helped the emergency services. The Salzburg rescue planes brought an emergency doctor and additional mountain rescuers to the avalanche in shuttle traffic. The doctor could only determine the death of the 39-year-old ski mountaineer. The crew of the police helicopter took the body on board a little later and flew it into the valley. The surviving alpinist was cared for by a Red Cross psychologist and also brought down to the valley by the rescue planes.