Australian teen dies in Austrian avalanche

Snow avalanche. Stock image.
Snow avalanche. Stock image.

AUSTRALIAN officials stand ready to assist the family of a Sydney teenager reportedly killed in an avalanche in Austria, as winter storms continue to lash Europe.

The 16-year-old boy was on a skiing holiday with his family when he was buried by the avalanche as his parents and brother looked on helplessly, according to reports.

His family were unable to help as they had no emergency supplies or a shovel with them.

The family issued a call for help after running into trouble while skiing off-piste near the St Anton resort in Tyrol, a police spokesman said late on Wednesday.

Rescuers retrieved the boy’s body 20 minutes later but he could not be revived.

The family, a German man and Australian woman and their children, live in Australia.

The boy was reportedly a student at Sydney’s International Grammar School, which has offered support to fellow students.

“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 on Thursday night, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The school will be open tomorrow and next week, and senior staff, counsellors and I will be there to assist should you require support.”

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is aware of reports of an Australian’s death in the nation.

“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 on Friday.

Ski outings turned into dangerous experiences in the Austrian Alps and Slovakian mountains on Wednesday amid continuing heavy snowfall.

Six German teenagers were luckier, emerging alive from an avalanche that engulfed them at the Wildkogel resort in Austria’s Salzburg province.